Journal of Writing & Environment

Web Rove – Narrative Poems

by William Bonfiglio

Poetry can be made accessible by the delivery of its content, and I have always valued those pieces that do not disguise themselves in complex diction or inaccessible language. After all, poetry is at its core simply another form of storytelling.

While researching poems to include in this web rove, therefore, I first turned to those magazines that specialize in narrative poetry, journals like the Naugatuck River Review, Split Lip Magazine, and Memoir. Through these and other magazines, I found poems that show exemplary craftsmanship, an emotional core, and, most importantly, a story worth reading.

Fool’s Sacrifice” by Marly Youmans (From The Flea)

Immediately, this poem calls to mind “The Seventh Seal” and its theme of communion with death. Death is not what the protagonist of this piece expects, and this poem’s opening few lines present it not as an ironic figure, but as one that has accepted its role as a harvester. “’Originality,’” the specter says, “‘is over-prized’”

On Visit to Hellshire Beach (Jamaica)” by Elvis Alves (From Lowestoft Chronicle)

The scene that this piece describes is not one that we as readers can necessarily recognize, but the diction, expertly crafted, assists us here. That the poem’s greater focus regards a boy and his father, and a confession shared between the two, speaks of a greater familiar and emotional purpose.

Ritual before Sleep” by Amy Schulz (From apt)

This prose poem details a strangely static progression, a shedding of both clothing and emotions that the protagonist of this piece accumulated through her day. With an interspersing of small scenes of action, the reader is allowed a detailed view of a character that embraces her surrender to the monster in the closet.

Coming to Terms” by Katie Darby Mullins (From spry literary journal)

One idea I have been reflecting on recently is this theme of perception, of how we see each other compared to how others might see each other. This theme is examined within this piece and its narrative of a man defined by his actions and their repercussions. For the protagonist, it inspires the doubt that even this infinitely more detailed picture is also not complete.

Falling in Florence” by Lucille Lang Day (From arroyo Literary Review)

This poem sets its stage: a woman dines with her husband in Florence, muses philosophically on the choices made by a fresco artist, and is suddenly debilitated. The suddenness of the break in the story, delivered in three simple words, epitomizes the shock felt by the speaker, and shows how syntax and diction can play substantial roles in a narrative piece.