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Poetry Submissions This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Every time I submit a poem online to Teen Ink, I’m asked, is it fiction or nonfiction?

On the surface the question seems simple. Is it real or made-up? Did it happen or not? With prose the answer may be simple, but it is difficult to label a poem in such definitive terms. When I am faced with marking one or the other, I often can’t decide. Every poem I write describes reality in some way. The imagery or the events may not have happened, but the emotion captured did happen – though not necessarily to me.

So, when I submit poetry to Teen Ink, should I always mark it as nonfiction? Is there a better way to define the difference between nonfiction and fiction? Or does it even matter?

Editor’s Note: Thanks for bringing up this tricky question. As you say, it can be hard to classify poetry, and for that reason, it doesn’t really matter to us if you label a poem fiction or nonfiction.

However, it is critical to designate all other narrative pieces as fiction or nonfiction. If you are unsure, ask a teacher.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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