It has to rhyme, I hate it, teachers put me off it at school, It's too hard to write. I've been told all of these things by people when I've discussed poetry. I feel so sad for the people who hate poetry and were put off it at school.
I have written an article about that here. I really believe teachers who don't at least like, if not love, a subject shouldn't be allowed to teach that subject to students.
Poetry does not have to rhyme, although rhyming is an important part of the ballad style that most people thing of when you mention poetry. Bush ballads certainly must rhyme, and must also adhere to strict rules, which can put more free-spirited people off.
But it is not mandatory that poetry does rhyme. There have been many fine poems written in the free verse style that don't rhyme. There is usually some sense of rhythm though, and maybe 'slant' rhymes, that is words that almost but not quite rhyme.
Alliteration and assonance my also be there, and many other things that can bring a collection of words together in a manner pleasing to the ear and mind. Poetic forms such as haiku certainly don't rhyme, but have their own charm when done well.
Give poetry a go - there is a lot of contemporary out there, on a huge range of subjects. There are also lots of opportunities to go out to poetry readings/poetry slams, and hear contemporary read/performed.
Even if you don't think you like poetry, why not give it another go, you might surprise yourself.