John is a contemporary poet who uses the rhyming styles of the classics to discuss current issues.
"There's no difference between lyrics and poetry. Words are words. The only difference is the people who are in academic positions and call themselves poets and have an academic stance. They've got something to lose if they say it's all poetry; if there's not music to it, and you have to wear a certain kind of checkered shirt or something like that. It's all the same. Lyrics are lyrics, poetry is poetry, lyrics are poetry, and poetry is lyrics. They are interchangeable to me."
— Van Morrison
Narrative vs Lyric Poetry
The main difference between narrative and lyric poetry is that narrative poetry focuses on narrating a story, whereas lyric poetry focuses on expressing the emotions and feelings of the poet.
Poetry can be broken up into three main categories: narrative poetry, lyric poetry, and dramatic poetry. Let’s look at narrative and lyric poetry and the difference between them.
What is Narrative Poetry?
Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story through its verse. Just like a short story or novel, narrative poetry has a plot, characters, and a setting. Since it tells a story, from beginning to end, narrative poetry tends to be longer than other types of poetry. It also involves descriptions, dialogues, and action. Such poems are usually told by one narrator but may involve multiple characters. It is usually written in the third person as an observer. In addition, although some narrative poems are written in blank verse, most narrative poems have a rhyme scheme. Some types of narrative poems are epic, ballad, idyll, and romance.
What is Lyric Poetry?
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. It is usually short and song-like. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Unlike narrative poetry, lyric poetry does not narrate a story. It does not have to rhyme but tends to express the personal feelings of the poet and is written in the first person. Today, they no longer need to be set to music or a beat. Lyric poetry includes a broad category of poems, including odes, elegies, and sonnets.
"In fact, in lyric poetry, truthfulness becomes recognizable as a ring of truth within the medium itself."
— Seamus Heaney
Wherever in the world I wander,
Or place I choose to lay my hat.
I try to make it feel like home
No matter where I’m at.
For this Earth of ours is endless
And we don’t know what we’ll find.
I don’t want to be a stranger
With homesickness on my mind.
I’ve explored so many countries
That each city seems the same.
They have the same attractions
But just have different names.
I prefer to take less travelled roads,
Wander off the beaten track,
Away from normal tourist routes,
In the mountains or outback.
If I find somewhere that’s special,
With a vibe that’s quite unique,
I’ll set up camp for a month or year
And fulfil the life I seek.
Then before that place gets boring,
I’ll pull up my stumps, my friend,
And move to my next port of call
That I’ll call home again.
Maybe some tropic island
With sands as white as snow,
And live like Robinson Crusoe,
Until it’s time for me to go.
By some, I’m called ‘The Wanderer,’
A name I can’t dispute.
Because I don’t have one abode,
And I wear out lots of boots.
Select a place to meet me,
Anywhere between the Poles.
I hope your choice surprises me,
Like a prospector who finds gold.
I’d welcome a companion,
A fellow traveller with to roam,
Someone without restricting ties
Who calls the whole world home.
"I am convinced that the first lyric poem was written at night, and that the moon was witness to the event and that the event was witness to the moon. For me, the moon has always been the very embodiment of lyric poetry."
— Mary Ruefle
© 2022 John Hansen