Is the poem the poet?

The conversation continues!

When I learned of poet Marjorie Power's decision to stop writing for an entire year, I suspected others would share my intrigue. The blog post recapping her experience generated much response, and one especially potent question (edited for brevity)

I read Marjorie's poem many times. Just now I realized that with each reading I might have been committing a reader's fallacy — assuming the second-person pronoun in the poem is Marjorie's reference to herself.

How many times have I been told not to mix up the persona/speaker of a poem with the poet. And yet I find in this case it is hard to separate the two. . . Does anyone else confuse or muddy the water between persona/speaker and the poet in reading poetry? Maybe doing so, after all, doesn't matter! Am I making too much of my "just now" observation?

This comment raises a critical issue. I, too, was trained to never assume the poem is the poet. But I see this foundation becoming less and less a standard. In our new share-all world  — the proliferation of memoir, the confessional nature of Facebook, the scripted reality of television — it seems we expect a seamlessness in which the artist is the canvas, the poem is the poet.

What do you think: Does the distinction between persona/poem still matter ?