I think it’s best to start out with what it is not…. it is definitely not an article like in a newspaper; it can tell a story, but it’s not formatted in paragraphs or sentences like a story– you can write in prose, which uses the tools of a poet like metaphor, alliteration, and personification.
But prose isn’t strictly poetry, or more exactly a poem, because it departs from the poetic structure, which is the use of “the line” or a set of lines in a stanza. Prose is more like poetry in sentences. Your stanza is the so-called “paragraph” or section of a poem made up of lines. A good line will stand alone, affect the reader somehow usually through its imagery, and becomes more significant when combined with other lines in the stanza.
To me a poem is a special way of conveying an experience, an event, a feeling, from my perspective. I don’t just want to tell you what I experienced, I want you to experience from my persona. That’s a tall order, 😳 living someone else’s experience as they experience it. So a poet’s task is to transport you somehow into their virtual reality realm.
I’m gonna use bad words, which some poets like myself will deny, but okay… seduce, sell, manipulate using the tricks of the trade, rhyme, metaphors, simile, meter, rhythms/ patterns of sound, alliteration, personification, allusions to color, time, place, objects; in other words, anything to make that quantum shift of consciousness to perceive and experience there unique perspective.
You might think of it like taking a mind altering hallucinagin without popping pills 💊. [Don’t do drugs BTW. There’s a safer way to experience escapism and it’s called poetry]