Does it have to rhyme? No, all it has to do is to connect - and hopefuly, let the reader feel and think something of what the poet was experiencing. That was the gist of what I learned about poetry while wading thru a few courses in literature that I took more out of curiosity than anything else.
That was all of 30 years ago! The lifelong love of poetry that resulted started largely because of the enthusiasm and commitment of my teachers, and has never left...
Writing poetry is another kettle of fish altogether. I have, on occasion, attempted the impossible and fortunately have not foisted my productions on any other than those nearest and dearest - who will (have to?) put up with anything!
Still, for those so tempted, please don't get taken in by flattery. Follow the link embedded in the title and do have a good laugh. All of David Taub's early submissions (on this theme) can be found at : http://windpub.com/literary.scams/wergle.htm and they will really crack you up.
I was pleased to discover that one of my mentors was still teaching literature / poetry and what was even more surprising was that he still remembers me - I think I took all of two full courses from this remarkable teacher and I was not an English major in the first place and certainly not one of those "memorably brilliant" students - now that is dedication!
A very big Thank You, Dr. Jon Kamholtz.