Narrative poetry is a form of poetry that tells a story, often using the voices of both a narrator and characters; the entire story is usually written in metered verse. Narrative poems do not need rhyme. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be complex. It is normally dramatic, with various characters. Narrative poems include all epic poetry, and the various types of "lay", most ballads, and some idylls, as well as many poems not falling into a distinct type.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with Western Europe and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (March 2022)
Some narrative poetry takes the form of a novel in verse. An example of this is The Ring and the Book by Robert Browning. In terms of narrative poetry, romance is a narrative poem that tells a story of chivalry. Examples include the Romance of the Rose or Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Although those examples use medieval and Arthurian materials, romances may also tell stories from classical mythology. Sometimes, these short narratives are collected into interrelated groups, as with Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. So sagas include both incidental poetry and the biographies of poets.