Friday, September 07, 2007

The question rises again. Does a blog or website constitute a 'publication'?

Some editors are beginning to say yes, it does.

The issue is being discussed currently byStephen Morse and his readers on this MySpace post. It explains why I've been putting up fewer of my poems. I still like to publish You'll see my opinion of the issue on his blog. Stephen Morse is a published poet, editor, and professor. If you're not a member of MySpace, you won't be able to post on his blog, but please do leave your opinions here.



DeadMule said...

I often post unfinished work, so I don't think of this as publishing. But as Poetry Editor of the Mule, I can't accept poems that have been (are) posted to blogs. All the talk has made me post fewer and fewer unpublished poems on my blog. Most of what you'll see are already published. Helen

Pris said...

Hi Helen
It had been my understanding that the Mule only asked that any poem on a blog or website be removed upon acceptance for the duration of the publication. I didn't realize this was the actual policy. One of my problems is that I use my website also as a 'file' for my poems, though I have old ones I don't display anymore hidden and unlinked so I'm the only one who can find them. I have a large pay website and this has been the best way I've found to keep track of the 'final' version of poems along with keeping a version off my computer in case of a crash when I'm not up to date with my backups.

I also post poems that still go through more honing after the first outing on my blog, so this is a real bind. I guess the only thing is to be aware of journal policies and not post any I would like to submit to journals that don't accept anything that's ever been on a blog.

Thanks for your clarification.


DeadMule said...

Your understanding of Mule policy is due to the fact that you'd been published there before and that we wanted you again. (Even editorial policies and) rules are made to be bent (but only by editors). So I cut you some slack. Amazing how differently we react when you're "family."

And the truth is, no editor has the time to search the web to find out if a poem was posted for fifteen minutes five years ago, then removed. We have to be a bit more trusting than that. Who'd want to be otherwise? Love, Helen

Pris said...

Hi Helen
I do appreciate that.

I have to say that this policy may be more widespread than I thought. MiPo recently adopted this policy and so I know if I want to submit there I don't put it on my blog. Other journals have found poems on my blog and asked to publish them or asked for more, so it's just a real bind knowing what to do, postwise, since these policies aren't spelled out in most journals. I just bought two sample print journals a poet friend said were really good and have visited both website. Both say they don't want previously published poems or simultaneous submissions, but in the past, 'published' meant in a journal and chosen by an editor. Now I no longer know what it means since many editors I've worked with know my poems can be on my blog. The editor of Tears in the Fence heard me read one of my poems on MiPo radio and messaged me to say that he couldn't get it out of his mind and asked if he could publish it. Yet again, another editor, another policy. Likewise with SA Griffin , co-editor of The Outlaw Bible for American Poetry. He published two of my poems that he found on a blog, then wanted to do a chapbook of my poems along with another poet's. Had I not blogged them, none of that would've happened.

Yes, I'm confused:-)

hugs to you,

JimK said...

Tighter rules and rule-bending
for knowns is formimg a pattern.
Most recent arrivals who put it on
the line could be quite SOL then.
Interesting. Will take a long
time to suss out. Radio silence,
except for contests, is an option.
Some doodles at the blog. Lone work.

pepektheassassin said...

Fascinating discussion, on both blogs! -- I'm still wondering, as I use a blog mainly as a place to collect and store my poetry (as opposed to keeping it in boxes under the bed, in various drawers, in notebooks, etc.

Used to be that I didn't care if somebody dropped by and left a comment (not many have). Now I wonder if I should make it private, or if even that would make any difference? Most of us, as has been noted, will never be T.S. Eliot or Carl Sandburg or Elizabeth Bishop anyway. The mere fact that anybody at all out there wants to read our stuff should keep us dizzy with delight!

pepektheassassin said...

PS Or, should I take down the site and return all my stuff to a box under the bed? Where no one will see it -- until I'm dead and gone and my kids find it and wonder -- what is this junk?

Pris said...

I would imagine the poet laureate could submit and have the poem all over the internet and still be accepted. Very hard for those starting out since, as I've already said, one of the ways my poetry came to the attention of so many editors was through my blogs.

I don't want to go back to all paper copies. I don't even trust just my computer. A friend recently had an electrical fire that destroyed all of his printed poems and books of his poems dating back to the Beat era, plus letters from poets from that time (since he edited a small press for 20 years at that time and knew most of them). He planned to go through those and donate.

I use my website to have a second 'safe' place for my poems, besides just showing them. I have a symbol only I know about that leads me to the archive of poems I don't show anymore. I'm beginning to think I may have to create another list there of poems I haven't submitted yet and intend to and save them behind a code known only to me, too.


Pat Paulk said...

If I post to a diary, and let others read it, is that publication?? I guess that's not open to the world. But, with maybe 20 to 200 people reading a blog that doesn't seem to constitute the world.

Brian Campbell said...

The amount of energy invested in this debate -- as well as the infamous sim sub debate -- is such a waste, and yet we all get sucked into it, don't we? Some wag I remember paraphrased Andy Warhol by saying, "Some day we'll all be famous for fifteen people." Editors, it would seem, that erect such restrictions want to reduce that number for poets to five people, or maybe three. To me it's all a big smoke screen to cut the competition, the volume of the slush pile. There are no clear rules in this game, no consensus --
so you can choose to be psyched out or play by your own rules.

Pris said...

..and I thought what we were trying to do as poets is increase our visibility and our readability among more than poets. I published a few poems many years ago in one very nice print journal, but it turned out that almost the entire readership consisted of the poets in the journal or who'd been in the journal and subscribed. Now those poems are 'previously published' even though they'll never be seen again, except on my website.

Brian, you're right. We're beating a dead horse here. We need to just do what's right for ourselves and let things fall as they may.

Pris said...

PS Pat, I think you should publish your diary :-)

Collin said...

I've got a new poem in draft form on my blog right now. I've started putting them up for a few days and taking them down because of these stupid new rules. I've read this debate on countless other blogs, but I don't buy it. I also feel it's becoming a way for editors to cut their submission volume.

Pris said...

Hi Collin
I'm about in the same position, ie post as a draft and then put it into draft mode on blogger so it doesn't show. I already take my unpublished poems down from MySpace after I think they've been read as much as they will be. I started doing that almost from the beginning because of MySpace's crazy policies.

Well, for sure this new policy will cut back on submissions.

Stephen Morse said...

It's all a money question. Intellectual property has value.
If you don't care about the thousands
of dollars (tongue buried deeply in cheek)you'll lose by giving away your poetry for others to read and profit from, then just keep on doing what you're doing.
If someone pays me for the rights, then I abide by the contract. If someone gives me the honor of being published for free, I do what ever I want to do with the poems. As the creator, unless I enter into a contract which requires payment to make it legal and binding, then all the rights are mine anyway.