At her blog Reb Livingston was pondering publication. What is it? She was at a conference where, she discovered, “Apparently I was the only person in the room (world?) who doesn't consider posting a poem on a blog or personal website to be the equivalent of publishing in a magazine (either online or print).” She likens the blog poem to the poem read aloud “in front of 100 people” or printing up “500 copies of a poem … and hand[ing] them out to people on the street.” Surely neither of these can be considered publication?
I left the following comment:
On one of my blogs I version poems. I've been going thru 20-yr-old poetry notebooks and taking out poems I think have potential, I post the poem on the blog, make a few comments on it, then post revisions separately and comment on them. Even though, so far as I know, I have no readership for these, I imagine readers intrigued by the disappearing comma of version 3, the exploded cliche of version 8. At least one of these versioned poems has subsequently been published. The published version differs fairly slightly (but, to me, significantly) from the last version that appeared on the blog. I don't think of the versions as published. Each version exists and is accessible. Which is the poem?