I always knew there were two camps when it came to poetry. Some people feel that unless it has an obvious rhyme, it isn't a proper poem. Inexact rhymes, they feel, are cheating. Others enjoy the combination of concepts with rhythms and singular language in free verse. If you want to start a debate between them ask whether William Carlos Williams's 'This is Just to Say' is really a poem. In my opinion it is, because of the way it makes you appreciate the sound of the words and the feel of them in your mouth; how it evokes sensations in such a succinct way, and hear beauty in the ordinary.
I love both traditional and free verse. On the anniversary of Lord Byron's death on 19th April, I spent half the morning revisiting his work. So, I have a foot in both camps, as I suspect most of us do. Alexander Pope wrote in his Essay on Criticism that 'the sound must seem an echo to the sense'. He doesn't specifically mention rhyme, but he does use it. Alliteration, slant rhyme, assonance, consonance and all the other varieties of rhyme– I find they all enrich poetry, prose poems and poetic prose. There's room for them all.
 Pope's essay also demonstrates that poetry can be factual, narrative or funny, and doesn't have to restrict itself to the esoteric or personal. I had thought that was obvious, so I was surprised to discover that some people would assume that a poem is about a real person and criticise a poet for not providing their biography, instead of simply enjoying the poem, which made perfect sense without it. Do they think that 'Jack and Jill went up the hill...' is a news story, or that the police are searching for 'Tom, Tom the Piper's son' for stealing a pig?
Goodness knows what they'd think of my efforts. Perhaps I'm better off not knowing.