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Fantastic Poetry

What is Fantastic Poetry?

Fantastic Poetry is everything you love about fantasy, but supercharged and condensed into a literary gem. It is an imaginative and wondrous story told with specific awareness of language, of its experience reading it and of the response it provokes in readers. Fantastic Poetry is different from other genres of poetry because it is categorized by its subject matter, rather than the form it takes. That is to say, Fantastic Poetry is about fantasy and imagination—it’s about creation and wonder, and the strange and unrealistic—and it takes many forms. Some authors, like J.R.R. Tolkien and Brian Jacques are known for incorporating poetry and song into their novels—but Fantastic Poetry doesn’t just exist within novels, it has a space all its own.

Sometimes it’s easier to see an example than to try to describe it, which is definitely true of poetry.

As an example of condensed, charged poetry that will turn on your imagination, the following minimalistic fantastic poem gives readers just enough to spark a story of fantasy in their own minds:

melted point

of a knight’s sword


“Untitled Scifaiku” by Debroah P. Kolodji as published in inskcrawl.


Other Features of Fantastic Poetry

  • Level of Magic

    Variable. In some ways, all poetry is magical, but Fantastic Poetry embraces the possibility and the wonder that is magic.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    High. Poetry is concerned with the expression of feelings and ideas. It is a condensed meditation on a quality, feeling, or idea.

  • Level of Characterization

    Variable. In some poems readers can really get to know a character, and in others, the poem just isn’t concerned with characters.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Highly Variable. Poetry isn’t necessarily concerned with plots and storylines—it tends to be concerned about expressing a feeling or an idea. Some poems may be epics with great plots and other poems may have no plot at all.

  • Level of Violence

    Variable. Sure, some dragons are smote. But, in other poems there is no smiting and no fireballs or swords clashing—it’s the beauty and myth of creation and imagination.

Related Fantasy Subgenres

  • Young Adult Fantasy. There are several examples of YA fantasy being told in the form of poems.

  • Fables/Fairy Tale Fantasy. Some Fantastic Poetry is inspired by fairy tales and fables, or create their own.

  • Mythic Fantasy. Taking the beauty of myth and transforming that into Fantastic Poetry create beautiful literature.

Fantastic Poetry isn't for you if...

If you don’t like poetry. Seriously, poetry isn’t for everyone.

Popular Fantastic Poetry Books (or Manga)

  • Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the macabre. An anthology of poems with fantastic and supernatural themes.
  •  “Boys and Girls Together” by Neil Gaiman. Opening line, “Boys don’t want to be princes.”
  • “Over the Misty Mountains Cold” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Opening line, “Far over the Misty Mountains cold”.
  • “A Cuban Cinderella” by Mararita Engel. Opening line, “Once, there was, and was not, a jealous stepmother”.
  • “Cruising with the Avatar” by Nathalie Anderson. Opening line, “His birth was looked for. All the signs foretold it.”
  • “Coyote” by Charles de Lint. Opening Line, “1. / Coyote’s / all used up now”.
  • “The Fates” by Jane Yolen. Opening line, “Fire shadows on the wall”.
  • “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll. Opening line, “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves”.
  • “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W.B. Yeats. Opening line, “I went out to the hazel wood”.
  • “The Dream” by Lord Byron. Opening line, “Our life is twofold; Sleep hath its own world”.
  • “The Knight’s Tale” by Geoffrey Chaucer. Opening line, “Whilom, as olde stories tellen us” (translation, “Once, as old histories tell us”).