What happened to narrative verse? An art form which has been one of the most important, and privileged, for most of human history takes a sudden nosedive in the rankings around about the start of the 20th century. I suspect it’s got something to do with masculinity and defensiveness – the most popular form of narrative poetry is now hip-hop; it can’t be a coincidence that the surviving example is so hysterically butch.
I couldn’t have imagined reading a novel-length poetic narrative when I was a teenager, which is a shame; if I’d discovered The Golden Gate back then I could have skipped a couple of decades. It’s brilliant, funny and moving: the last canto is wonderful.