>> One senses the possibility of a whole new type of poem. The poem as
>> infinitude of choices; the poem liberated of the tyranny of sequence;
>> the poem as a matrix of possibilities.
Over on news:alt.hypertext there is much discussion of the sort of questions
you raise and most people seem to be of the opinion that there are very few,
if any, examples of "successful" hypertext poetry or prose. The ones which
seem to be considered to be state of the art are only available by download or
by post after payment has been made - the pig in a poke option. Most of the
"hypertexts" which I would describe as compelling reading are in fact linear.
The maze-like texts all seem to have the "That was quite nice" quality. I
feel that the hypertext poem, like many other aspects of computer mediated
communication, needs some sort user interface in order to supply the
structure which the reader needs in order to avoid the feeling of "wandering
aimlessly" in something which could be formless and/or endless.
[log in to unmask] (Mark Bernstein) writes:
>> It's not a hypertext because it has links.
>> It's a hypertext because those links create structure for the reader
I agree that the hypertext poet needs new ways of thinking about hir work.
The hypertext poet should enable the reader as explorer which would seem to
suggest that there must be some means of navigating to particular places
within the text with purpose rather than by sheer chance. It has been
suggested on alt.hypertext that the means by which we experience hypertext,
the web browser, is actually very limited as interface to multiple page
documents. Ideally we would open each page in a new window and be able to
move easily from window to window, possibly by using some sort of visual
device such as the "tree", and so avoid the linear progress which is not only
contrary to the concept of hypertext but distracting in terms of lack of
structure from the reader's point of view. By such means we would eventually
have the whole work available and be able to begin to perceive or even create
a structure. Also, it strikes me as unreasonable to expect the reader to
enter a text and begin reading not knowing whether it is going to be smaller
than a slim volume or larger than a collected works.
>> One senses the possibility of a whole new relationship with the reader -
>> the reader as explorer; the reader as game-player; the reader as
The question of involving the reader as co-author (or even solver of puzzles)
is even more difficult but could possibly be achieved with the use of
scripts, frames, and other devices. My own sporadic efforts to produce an
Box_), drop down selection boxes (_Toy_, a multiple choice poem), and frames
(a work in progress of which I have high hopes). I have not yet been able to
finish a true hypertext which satisfies my own requirements in terms of ease
of use and clarity of structure.
>> We have used narrative devices to swing the reader from page to page.
Your narrative devices work very well. I notice that a certain amount of
looping back is possible at the end of the poem with a number of possible
endings being available and would suggest that if that could be extended to
take one further towards various beginnings it would enhance the interface
somewhat. In fact the end could be a good place to start. The option to
"begin again" (which follows the final stanza) is risky as the reader has the
sense of having emerged and may just wander off ...
BTW, your link "back to Snakeskin" seems to be broken.
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