A poem is musical notation which has been translated into verses of writing. Poems are not always taken seriously, after all, how will a measly poem help pay for college or boost grades? Teen Ink was created to combat this discrimination, and became a place of free expression that is enjoyed by all people. The editors do not scorn work, they allow all writing on their site. What they consider the best writing is rewarded with a little red check mark or a “MAG” sticker; this is an editor’s responsibility.
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. There are a few reasons to why this affects a poem and its writer’s intentions.
For one, there are certain types of poems, such as haiku and sonnets, that call for a specific number of lines (three in a haiku and fourteen in a sonnet) and syllables in each line (five-seven-five in a haiku and ten in a sonnet). When a haiku is suddenly posted on the site with four lines, readers wonder at the structural knowledge of the writer, and the writer wonders what happened to his haiku; I have seen a couple of haiku on the site with this oddity. I have also submitted a sonnet on the website which, when it was 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.
Second, when the structure of a poem is tampered with, even if it is free verse, the poet’s meaning changes and the fluidity of the work is interrupted. My sonnet became difficult to read because the lines were cut randomly and the rhyming scheme was lost, as well. I know my poem is not the only affected work because I have read the poems of 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 that is changing the structure of poems once they are posted. The structure of a poem is given as much thought as the words building it, and this problem should be looked into with just as much importance and the consideration your contributors deserve.