Poems are not always taken seriously. After all, how will a measly poem help pay for college or boost grades? Teen Ink combats this discrimination and is a place of free expression. The editors do not scorn work; they allow all writing on their site.
However, an editor should not be allowed to tamper with an artist’s work. Tampering is not necessarily censorship, which the editors do not practice. Instead, the structure of the writing is changed, which particularly hurts a poem. Haiku and sonnets require a specific number of lines and syllables in each line. When a haiku is suddenly posted on the site with four lines, readers wonder about the knowledge of the writer, and the writer wonders what happened to his haiku; I have seen a couple haiku on the site with this oddity. I have also submitted a sonnet which, when posted, had thirty lines, with some lines having only one word each! The poem was no longer structured in the style of a sonnet, was confusing to read (even for its writer), and no longer rhymed as a sonnet should. I know my poem is not the only affected work. I have read poems by other contributors, and while enjoying their contents, I felt as though the structure of the writing felt wrong.
Teen Ink editors, I implore you, as part of your responsibility, to look into this issue. The structure of a poem is given as much thought as the words building it, and this problem should be looked into with the consideration your contributors deserve.
Editor’s response: You’re right, Polina, and while Teen Ink editors sometimes make slight formatting changes due to the limited space in the magazine, we never compromise the integrity of a poem, especially one that follows a specific structure. The problem you’re seeing is a technical one that sometimes happens when poems are uploaded to our website. Our tech department has been alerted and will do their best to address the issue. Oh, and an editor’s job actually is to “tamper” with your work … but only to help it shine as brightly as possible!
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.