Over the past thirty years, narrative poems have made a comeback against the lyric approach to poetry that has dominated the past century. Drawing on a decade of conferences and critical seminars on the topic, The Contemporary Narrative Poem examines this resurgence of narrative and the cultural and literary forces motivating it.
Gathering ten essays from poet-critics who write from a wide range of perspectives and address a wide range of works, the collection transcends narrow conceptions of narrative, antinarrative, and metanarrative. The authors ask several questions: What formal strategies do recent narrative poems take? What social, cultural, and epistemological issues are raised in such poems? How do contemporary narrative poems differ from modernist narrative poems? In what ways has history been incorporated into the recent narrative poetry? How have poets used the lyric within narrative poems? How do experimental poets redefine narrative itself through their work? And what role does consciousness play in the contemporary narrative poem?
The answers they supply will engage every poet and student of poetry.