This generative poem transports its readers to Ireland, and all the water, sunshine, green fields, agriculture, and magic that goes into brewing its world-famous beers. This work is populated by poets, scholars, musicians, the pooka— a mischievous, dark, shape-shifting fairy creature— fields, blue lakes, valleys, forests, and other shapes taken by the land. All the people, faerie, and personified landscapes consider, contemplate, and dream of how they all are a part of the real and mystical brew that flows from St. James Gate.
How does one attempt to capture the experience of being out in nature, surrounded by hills, trees, flowers, grass, sky?
About a century before this poem, Imagist poets took on the same challenge, using compressed language to recreate sensory experiences, usually from nature or art. William Carlos Williams’ masterful final book, Pictures from Brueghel (1962), modernized ekphrastic poetry by evoking even saccadic eye movements as one looked at a Brueghel painting in his free verse.
Judy Malloy uses humble Web 1.0 tools, such as frames, font colors and sizes, background colors, and the meta refresh tag, along with tactical placement of poetic lines and precise scheduling, to insert us into a space and create a vivid landscape one image at a time.
This series of hypertext poems tell the story of Irish people who went to North America as slaves in the 17th century, focusing on the stories of Walter Powers and his descendant Hiram Powers, told by Máire Powers (their modern day descendant) and Liam O’Brien, respectively. The research Liam and Máire are doing as they retell the stories of their descendants have intertwined their fates, placing them in a collision course that….
This three part work showcases Malloy’s finely honed craft as a poet, storyteller, and creator of hypertexts. Each part of the poem is divided into one, two, three, or ten frames each with a different background and text color, and each refreshing on different time intervals. This creates a multiple reading paths for readers to either attempt to read each frame in isolation, or to go back and forth from different frames, perhaps replicating the experience of painting a landscape while thinking about something else.
The Sierra Nevada mountain range and its nature are central to this poem, which contains history, literature, art history, and characters who meet and form lasting or fleeting relationships. People from all over the world come together in these mountains, leaving traces of their path in paintings, music, writing, and family, but also encountering those who are attracted to that natural setting.
I suggest you get a feel for each part of the poem, shifting strategies as needed to best appreciate the visual layout for each section, but eventually focusing your attention on a storyline, and another, and another.
This narrative hypertext poem allows readers to return to Judy Malloy’s fictional world and discover more about some of the characters from her previous works (including the delightful rogue, Uncle Roger). We enter this wedding party as Jenny (from Uncle Roger: A Party at Woodside) and experience the party by selecting icons for different characters, places, and a musical band. This interface and the control it gives us to direct our attention to characters and their situations, and move to different places in this beach house in California gives it a 1980s interactive fiction feel to it, but with a GUI for ease of use for contemporary audiences. Reading it without having read some of Malloy’s earlier works is still fun, because she provides us with enough information to follow snippets of plot lines and revel in interpersonal dynamics, and it’s much like the experience of attending a wedding reception where you haven’t met anyone before. But having read her earlier work magnifies the experience, as questions become answered and unresolved issues come to a head.
Call it intertextuality, self-referential allusion, or a sequel in a series, these invisible links are established and powered by the human mind, and make Malloy’s hypertext fiction much more complex and pleasurable.
When this narrative hypertext poem was serially published from 1996 to 1999 it must’ve been a different reading experience from the site that we now have before us. The layering of narrative and poetic elements accumulating over time, shifting under the weight of memory and forgetfulness, with echoes and links to guide new and experienced readers alike, is an experience that is difficult to recreate. The closest thing to it is to read the lexia in numerical order, whether by going to the directory listing (http://www.well.com/user/jmalloy/roarofdestiny/) or by changing the number of the lexia in the address bar). However, reading the complete work with the tools provided is a rich undertaking in and of itself.
Malloy offers her readers several interfaces to explore this web of 232 lexias, the most important of which is a textual map that consistently contextualizes the poem within a field of experiences and provides thematic links to other lexia, much as she did with Uncle Roger. The surrounding texts enrich the indented and in boldface narrative, allowing for multiple readings of the poem.
Follow the multiple paths of this engaging story about Gweneth (from l0ve0ne) and transport yourself to a vibrant time when the boundaries between the natural and virtual worlds started to liquefy.
This hypertext narrative poem from 1994 was serially published on the early Internet, as described by Malloy.
In the spirit of the Internet, in the spirit of the web, portions of L0ve0ne originally appeared in different forms in servers all over the country — Sausalito, California; Palo Alto, California; Arlington, Virginia; and the Massachusetts North Shore. The story began on the Interactive Conference on Arts Wire. It was continued on the Arts Conference on the WELL. (notes)
This pioneering hypertext narrative poem was originally written in 1986-1987 in UNIX and BASIC (for floppy disk distribution) and was published as a Web version in 1995. The first of these, “A Party in Woodside,” offers two navigational options for readers to explore: a set of icons to the left of the poem which allows readers to read the work as it was serially written and published in 1986, or by following links from a textual mapping of the narrative:
jenny puffy uncle roger dreams and nightmares jane jeff jack family tom dorrie men in tan suits louise rose chips mark laura food and drink miss gorgel caroline david the house in woodside