Poetry writers aren't defined by age, intelligence, or experience, but by the work that bursts forth from the depths of their soul. (Unless they're gingers, in which case their possession of a soul is questionable.) While everyone might not be a "poetry person," those that are fall into five distinct categories.
The first type of poet is the sappy hopeless romantic. This poet loves being in love. He can write about the golden, flowing locks of his lover's until the break of dawn, when the dew is beaded on the morning glories, just like a tear on his lover's flawless cheek. While you might find some poetry readers gagging over the unprecedented amounts of cheese, there is still a place for the hopeless romantic poet in the world. Many women still swoon over flowery language and Song of Solomon style compliments. Personally, I have no idea how teeth can be like a flock of sheep other than being fuzzy, gross, and have the occasional one go missing, but maybe I'm being too literal. Sonnets, odes, and lyrics are all romantic's favorite figurative playgrounds. It goes without saying that Shakespeare is the idol of all romantic poet's shrines. What a guy, comparing thee to a summer's day. Who cares if he was balding and potentially touched little boys?
The second type of poet is the angst-y brood (also known as the post-modern poet.) This poet is most prevalent in the teen years, but certainly isn't confined to those caught in the hormonal throws of high school. The brood writes poems on how depressing a single red rose wrongfully plucked from its other rose friends to die alone is, how every breath is a question of existence, and how the media is a cluster of maggots slowly nibbling away at our decomposing intelligence. The vessels through which he or she vents is free verse, epitaph, or tragic epics. The brooding poet loves Edgar Allen Poe for his morbid sense of all things once holy. If Lenoir's beauty couldn't grace the earth, then all other beauty must die a brutal, gory death. How sweet is that?
The third type of poet is the Mother Nature Worshiper. All good feelings and profound epiphanies stem from immersing oneself in water falls, rolling around naked in patches of grass, or belly flopping into mud pits. The Mother Nature Worshiper has a tinge of sappy romantic in him, but the object of desire is not a person, but experiencing the sublime. While this poet should be pursuing actual, tangible friendships instead of chasing butterflies around the yard, he is perfectly content with the solitude of a log cabin in the woods on a still, serene lake full of floundering fish caught and eaten by the majestic birds of the air. The sublime poet tries to imitate Walden, Emerson, and Thoreau. Their favorite poems to write are tankas and haikus. Who knew seventeen syllables could pack such a punch?
The forth type of poet and word tinkerer is the poet who didn't know it. He has hidden talents, one of them being the ability to bust out a few rhyming sentences unintentionally. This poet doesn't necessarily write poems outside of class assignments, but when he does, some sort of magic happens. The poet who doesn't know it is largely the equivalent of a class clown in poetry, dabbling in burlesque, odes, epics, shape, and acrostic. The unintentional poet has a wide variety of personal heroes: Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, Nicki Minaj, and Eminem. Forgive them for the latter, one day they'll come to their senses.
The fifth and final poet is the legitimate brooding-nature-loving-hopeless-romantic poet, also known as the Junk Drawer. He is the catch-all for poetry writing, and can produce solid work. The Junk Drawer poet can tap into the darker side of life and produce poetry that struggling people can gain catharsis from. He can woo his lover with passionate words, make them feel cherished, and put them to rest with a smile on their lips. He can perfectly depict the most beautiful nature scene that stirs the soul with sublime feelings that bubble up from a babbling brook until it reaches the intensity of a raging waterfall. Pieces of poems can come to the Junk Drawer poet at any time, and perfect rhyme schemes can burst from their brains as quickly a thunderstorm overtakes a summer afternoon. He has tried his hand at every type of poem, yet is always particularly good at one genre over others. He can write creatively in free verse equally as well as a poem with a strict formula. He is not limited to a specific set of elite poets, but appreciates good poetry in general. Although if truly a Junk Drawer poet, Robert Frost is his number one fave.
Now that you are classically trained in distinguishing poets, I welcome you to the Living Poets Society. May your writing brood over existence, your lovers be wooed, your picturesque nature scenes sublimely captured, and your words be unintentionally, yet perfectly chosen.