I am always in a dilemma about this. Early on I read that many literary magazines consider blog posts 'prior publication' and won’t take anything that has been so aired. Fair enough too, it seems to me. But until recently it inhibited me from sharing a lot of stuff. One of my MySpace friends, when I asked him about this, told me not to worry – there were reputable online lit mags that didn’t mind first drafts having appeared in blogs. Not quite what I meant, but a point worth thinking about. I was referring to print mags and finished works – inasmuch as a poem is ever 'finished', of course. I have tended to use already-published pieces in blogs for the most part ... until lately.
Plenty of MySpace poets don’t seem too worried, for which I am grateful as I get to read the wonderful stuff they post!
And then, I notice that I’m not actively pursuing publication in print mags any more anyway. I have friends who are somewhat militant about bypassing mainstream media in order to reach 'the people'. I’m not so ideological about it, but I do find online publication more interesting these days. Well, it tends to be where I spend my time; and now that I live in a coastal village rather than a city, even the prominent lit mags are hard to come by and aren’t in my life any more.
And, having done a 'New & Selected' not so long ago, I’m thinking chapbooks for forthcoming ventures into printed books – in which case I won’t need a new record of prestigious print mag publication to convince a book publisher I’m worth it.
So what am I saying here?
That I’m very much engaged with online publication these days, and any ventures into print in the near future are liable be rather different from earlier forays.
That I wonder about the truth of this rumour that lit mags – online or off – won’t take material that has appeared in websites or blogs. I actually know it is true of at least a few online mags and also some print mags - so where do I find the others?
That I have actually started some poetry blogs now. Couldn’t restrain myself any longer, despite wondering about the wisdom of it. Mind you, they have about 5 readers so far, so I could choose to abort them without seriously jeopardising my chances of getting the poems published elsewhere. Is it more important to just get them out there? If I have so few readers, am I really getting them out there anyway? (The same applies to some above-mentioned poets whose gorgeous work seems largely unknown.)
What do other poets think? What do the magazine editors say? Tell us, please!
And yes, I know I am ignoring the whole question of spoken word poetry. Is it that performance poets regard that as their main focus and aren’t so concerned about where or how they back it up on the page/screen?
Where do I go from here?
Do please weigh in with some opinions!