I have just come across an interview with Carrie Etter. At the end of the article this topic comes up.
When I am at a reading I know I will never hear the poem again or read it, unless it gets published some time in the future. Often I don't know the name of the poet either, it whizzes past. Followed by many more.
Now I know I need to go up to the person I liked the most and get their name. Then I may see them again at another reading or workshop. Gradually I am getting to know the writers whose work I love the most.
Choosing a set is interesting. Do I make sure nothing is ever read out twice? Or do I read out my favourites? Do I test things out on live audiences, risking the not quite rightness of a piece? Do I dare to read out a piece I wouldn't want published, knowing it won't be recorded, risking that exposure, deciding it won't go any further, letting others enjoy it there and then, live but not in type?
The other thing is that I have to speak loudly, so a soft gentle poem can't be spoken in that way and also be heard. That means only direct, uncompromising poems can be read out across a big room.
Now I know that a writer produces many things which never get performed or printed. The more experimental and personal pieces. The ones which are more from themselves and which mean more to them than to anyone else. So the performance or the print version is just part of it.