It is a fact that the narrative poems are known to be the ones that fall under the oldest genre. You will find that in many ancient literary works and popular epics, the narrative poetries have played a major role. Be it the epic of Gilgamesh or that of Homer; the Sanskrit poems from epics like Mahabharata or the Old English poetry, narrative poems have left an indelible mark in all these forms of literary works. Even some say that these poems offer a major contribution for the stories of Iliad and Odyssey.
There are narrative poetries that take the form of a novel. For instance, the Ring or the Book by Robert Browning has such narrative poetries that have the feel of a novel. Narrative poems have also succeeded in emitting the fragrance of romance through various compositions. For example, the Romance of the Rose is a very beautiful narrative poem. The other one is Idylls of the King by Tennyson. However, the stories from Classical Mythology consisted of fine romantic poems.
You can still have a great time indulging with the shorter narrative poems. They are written in the style, which is similar to that of short stories. Most of the times, these short narrative pieces are taken into groups that are interrelated, like Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. There are prose narratives including various poetic interludes, and the Old Norse sagas feature biographies of poets as well as incidental poetry.
The history of narrative poetry dates back to the period when oral tradition served as an important factor. The tales of Robin Hood, Baltic and Slavic heroic poems, the Scots and English ballads etc were composed not for reading but for the purpose of recitation. The recitation was regarded as a cultural event in those days.
Now, let’s talk about the important aspects of writing a narrative poetry. The four basic points that you should remember are character, setting, conflict and plot. These four elements should be the major factors in composing a narrative poetry. Those Winter Sundays and The Wood-pile are the ideal narrative compositions that would inspire you to create a new one. Start collecting the books and you will find delight in composing your own narrative poems.