What makes a poem a poem?

Walt Whitman's use of free verse became apprec...
Walt Whitman’s use of free verse became appreciated by composers seeking a more fluid approach to setting text. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is a poem? Some may think a poem has to rhyme. (I disagree.) Others believe the syllables must be counted, or that a poem must be stuffed full of alliterative language. But what about free verse? What makes a block of words, a sentence chopped up onto several lines, a poem, rather than a mere chopped-up sentence or a paragraph scattered over several lines?

To me, writing a poem is about capturing a moment. It could be a feeling, a natural occurrence, or a quick glimpse into the life of one person. Most of my poetry describes just one, very small moment. These moments might last only a few seconds, or as long as several minutes. Rarely does the poem capture more than a very short block of time. Continue reading “What makes a poem a poem?”