Poetry is a genre of literature that expresses ideas, feelings, narratives, and more, with a specific style.
Often, this includes rhyme, rhythm, and the use of stanzas, but not always. It has historically been concerned with aesthetics and topics like beauty, love, death, and religion.
It’s a difficult genre to define due to the various historical and contemporary types of poetry. For example, some writers consistently use rhyme or meter within their verse or even use poetic forms like the sonnet, ballad, or villanelle, while others write in free verse. As a result, these poems appear to lack structure entirely.
A poem is not defined by whether it rhymes, nor is it defined by the use of stanzas. Some pieces take the form of paragraphs or even single stand-alone sentences. It’s possible to find poems that are a few words long, a few pages, or as long as a novel.
These features of poetry are what make the genre exciting. When starting a new poem, you can be prepared with how you’ll analyze it and understand it, but anything can happen because of the diversity within the genre.