I will never get over the number of people who write poetry. They seem to be legion. The question of how many read it is unavoidable. Even if we all had access to the newest poems, could hear their authors reading their output, and were consciously dedicated to taking in as much as we could manage in a day, we couldn't come close to absorbing what's out there.
Why write poems instead of stories or essays?
In the 21st Century, how do we define poetry vs. prose?
Is there room in any publisher's list for material that doesn't fall clearly into a category -- i.e. "contemporary," "confessional," "lyrical," "nature," and so forth?
Sometimes I write poetry (I must use the term loosely) because something about the thought I need to express demands diction I wouldn't use for prose. Maybe if I understood what a "prose poem" is, I could use that designation without feeling I need to make the written lines look on the page like something that can't be prose. More than that, though, is the need to give expression to an idea that requires metaphor. If I'm honest, I have to admit that some notions are too vague in outline to lend themselves to ordinary sentences and lack of ambiguity. So many facets of everyone's life are inchoate, and it's those that need poetry to give them any form at all.
Having attempted to trick some of my high school English students into defining poetry (as opposed to prose) over 30 years ago, I have a notion of how poetry seems to define itself to me, but feel certain the criteria would satisfy neither an academic nor a young poet. So now I'm hoping to get educated. Oh, I should confess that I buy and read young poets, and some wonderful older ones like Marie Ponsot. Still, looking for clear-cut absolutes, I don't see much to help identify them.
I just hope that the answer to the first question doesn't turn out to be: because it's easier than to write prose!