Narrative poetry predates personal poetry by several thousands years. In fact, the introduction and widespread use of poetry for examining the inner life of the poet didn’t begin until the Italian Renaissance in the 1300´s.
Although personal poetry has become deeply rooted today, many modern poets have continued the storytelling use of poetry by writing novels in verse, most notably the classic Eugene Onegin by the 19th century Russian master Alexandr Puskin. Contemporary examples of novels in verse include The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth (1986) and Darlington’s Fall by Brad Leithauser (2002).
One of my favorite brief poems that tells a story is “Richard Corey” (1897) by the American poet Edward Arlington Robinson:
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich, richer than a king —
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
This poem is deceptively simple, both in style and content, but it carries many layers and is rich with many levels of meaning. On the surface, it is the story of a successful businessman who is polished, fashionably dressed and impeccable in his manners. He’s the envy of all who see him walking stylishly through the streets. The external man appears to be in possession of everything his workers dream of, the kind of man we might see today on the streets of any modern city. Ironically, he is living in a private hell, lonely, self absorbed, and isolated from his fellow human beings, not just his workers who struggle to make ends meet, but also those of his own class. It is a masterful depiction of our ignorance of the suffering of others and the shocking suddenness of suicide.
My newest book is a collection of nine narrative poems written over the last seven years or so. These nine poems tell the stories of the emotional lives of lovers, artists, writers and others who struggle to hold onto their own self-worth when confronted with the insanity and indifference of the contemporary world. Michale Palma, the poet and translator of Dante, has said these poems are ". . . rich with the hard-won lessons of experience and the irreducible complexities of existence." NINE NARRATIVE POEMS is now available in a Kindle edition from Amazon. Here's the link
Causes Anthony Maulucci Supports
Greenpeace, Amnesty Inernational, American Cancer Society, Red Cross, Save the Children