What is our goal when we read a poem? Do we have an errand to carry out when we approach a text? Is it to traverse it, opening ourselves to the experiences it offers as we explore its psychogeography?
This hypertext poem prompts us to reflect upon these questions and more as we take multiple paths through a small amount of nodes. The poem overtly instructs readers to explore the piece in different ways and offers us three navigational tools: a scheduled linear reading in which the poem unfolds before us like a film, a series of linked o’s beneath the Flash canvas, and linked words in each node that form different loops of their own.
This satirical game poem creates a small deterministic universe— a system into which a player is faced with choices, real and illusory, as they shape their “life.” Conceptually patterned after the Hasbro “Game of Life,” this hypertext version presents similar choices to its players but using an interface that lays out the general structure yet retains the element of surprise. Coverley uses this to drive home a critique of gender roles, career choices laying bare how they determine and limit one’s choices in a supposedly free and open American society. Her tongue-in-cheek tone, hokey music, prosy lines of verse, and a humorously generous ending soften the biting commentary enacted in this game, inviting readers to play, explore, and reflect.
var m1 = " Conjuring: beauty, health, self-improvement. ";
var m2 = " Love and Romance. ";
var m3 = " Magick between dawn and sunset. ";
Originally published in BeeHive 3:4 (December 2000), this poem maps human experiences, narrative, weddings, funerals, and memory onto the ebb and flow of waters in tidelands— those coastal regions where rivers flow into the sea. The metaphorical relations between tidelands and individual and collective experience, past and present, knowledge and intuition are enacted in the use of hypertext and layers. This layering of text and image makes some lines and words difficult to read, breaking with the tradition of sequential arrangement of texts to draw attention towards new juxtapositions and the blending of human experiences. The poem also references estuaries, islands, and water during high, low, and neap tides— lunar and maritime cycles presented as a female analog to the more masculine solar solstices and equinoxes that have received such archetypal attention.
This is a work worthy of rereading and reflection to allow its language and images to ebb and flow in and out of your conscious mind.
This ethereal poem compels its readers to experience the evanescence of memory through a deceptively simple interface and navigational tools. The animations and sounds are displayed and fade at a paused pace to encourage reflection and allow time for the reader to forget where they clicked last, what they clicked, and where they were headed to next: much like the Alzheimer and Parkinson patients whose plight they seek to evoke. The mapped out sequences of dots reward those who follow them with sounds of nature, language, and gorgeous images— but the visual mappings fade after a few seconds, leaving the readers semi-lost when trying to reconstruct them.
This is a masterfully executed piece, using digital media tools with a delicate touch.
This hypertext Flash poem written between August and December 2001 by Marjorie Luesebrink (M.D. Coverley is her nom de plume) arranges old photos arranged along an image of LA skyscrapers. Clicking on each leads to an brief sequence in which a photograph of people is juxtaposed with audio and a few lines of narrative poetry, whose display or legibility are scheduled. The black and white photography, unsettling sounds, image transformation, and the stanzas describing lives touched by the transformation of the sky into glass resonate with the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks on countless lives. This is a powerful, yet delicate work.