Fort Polk, LA, USA
Oh my. I've only been around for a few days, and so don't know that I'm really qualified to stick my two cents in. But having read over everything that everyone's said...well, I felt something tugging at me to pop off with my own opinion.
Poetry sings. No matter what its form, or topic, or length. We all write for different reasons, with different styles and skills, and when everything is said in done, what comes out is both personal and public. It says one thing to its creator, and another to every other person that reads it. Gleeful, funny, sad, thoughtful, wry, clever... everything that I've seen posted in the forums is something that someone put time and effort into. I've always believed it doesn't matter whether anything I write can be classified as poetry or prose. Those of you who have seen my poems in the forum -- and yes, I refer to them as poems, because that is how they feel to me, the one who wrote them -- know I'm a rabid freeformer. But that doesn't mean rhyming verse is any better or worse a form for poetry. For anyone to say 'Freeform poetry is NOT poetry' is just wrong in my mind. Just as wrong it would be to say 'Rhyming poetry is dead, get with the time, peoples'. If it sings to you, or someone who reads it, it's poetry. If it opens up that warm fuzzy glow in your chest when you read it, it's poetry. If it makes you cry, giggle, sniffle, or grin and does so in a lyrical form...it's poetry. The sentiment behind what's written is what matters. Not the form it comes in.
I guess what this all boils down to is don't knock what other people put blood, sweat and tears into. Your prose may be another man's poetry, and vice versa. And yes... this is just my opinion. If I've offended, please feel free to email me with objections. If I haven't made any sense, well... perhaps that was my ultimate goal after all. This place is maintained, with much hard work, for the enjoyment of those who come here. Enjoy it, thank those who work so hard to make it available, and let's just write!
--Jessica steps off the soapbox, scuttles back into her corner--