A poem is a tighter, tauter piece of writing where the formal elements assume an importance that places it somewhere on the way from prose to music. Poems should be read aloud for appreciation of their ‘musical’ elements.
I love the sonnet – a world in fourteen rhymed lines – and have written quite a few of these. But poems need not have a formal metrical, rhyming or lined structure. Free verse, ie verse without such structures, can follow the flow of speech and come across as more natural and ‘modern’ – albeit that it has been around for centuries!
Nor need poems be about ‘poetic’ topics. Poems can be, should be, about things that matter – whether big things or small things, funny or sad things – and can be about the contemporary world, about technology or even about the future.
I’ve written poems about Hong Kong as well as other places I’ve travelled to. And I’ve written science fiction poems and poems about football, among other topics.