“Marble Springs” NOT by Deena Larsen (part 4 of 4)

Screen capture of "Marble Springs" NOT by Deena Larsen (part 4 of 4). The Marble Springs website is once again displayed with the photograph of the old mining town at the top. Text: "Credits / What we know / Thanks / Thanks, you guys! Well folks, it's been a long hard haul, but we made it. Hurrah! / Contributors to Marble Springs 2.0 / (list of names too small to read)"
Open “Marble Springs” NOT by Deena Larsen (part 4 of 4)

This hypertext poem is open by design, with a long history of inviting participation from others. When it was first published in 1993 in HyperCard format by Eastgate systems (referred to in earlier entries as Marble Springs 1.0) it offered readers the ability to contribute their own writing to the work via annotations, as described in the publisher’s site.

Marble Springs joins reading and writing as it invites each reader to rewrite and extend the work. Open or “constructive hypertexts” have long been considered one of the great promises of hypertext fiction and of the colonization of cyberspace, yet actually creating an open hypertext, one in which others can write and will wish to write, poses both technical and artistic challenges which Larsen has met head-on.

Read more

Close Reading “Marble Springs 3.0” by Deena Larsen (part 3 of 4)

Close Reading “Marble Springs 3.0” by Deena Larsen (part 3 of 4)

This hypertext epic about the lives of the inhabitants of Marble Springs, a fictional gold rush town in Colorado is an ambitious project 25 years in the making. For the past two entries, I have focused on issues of publication, obsolescence, documentation, and representation of her creative vision. This entry will examine a character’s page / lexia / node— Mandy Turner’s—analyzing its design, poetic language, and link structures.

Read more

“Marble Springs 3.0” by Deena Larsen (part 2 of 4)

Screen capture of "Marble Springs 3.0" by Deena Larsen (part 2 of 4). A black and white photograph of an abandoned mining town. Text: "Marble Springs 3.0 Home / Marble Springs is a complex study of characters using the odd bit of information picked up here and there. Come explore the lives of women in a small Colorado mining town from the mid 1800s when white men first swooped to the gold fields to the mid 1900s when wars took the final breath from the town."
Open “Marble Springs 3.0” by Deena Larsen (part 2 of 4)

This new version of Marble Springs, originally published in Hypercard in 1993 by Eastgate Systems (see yesterday’s entry for details), uses a contemporary authoring system that still can’t quite achieve Larsen’s vision for the work. Here’s Deena’s commentary in the “About Marble Springs” page, which also offers a detailed version history for the work:

Now the internet has come somewhat closer — but nowhere near — what I originally had in mind. And Leighton Christiansen wrote his thesis on digital archiving techniques using Marble Springs as his digital archiving guinea pig. So now, using his exhaustive lists of links and texts and images, I am porting Marble Springs to a wiki.

Read more

“Marble Springs 1.0 [Web Demo]” by Deena Larsen (part 1 of 4)

The I ♥ E-Poetry Guide to “Electronic Literature & Its Emerging Forms”


Welcome to this guide focused on a key component in the Electronic Literature Showcase starting today at the Library of Congress. (Read Susan Garfinkel’s post at The Signal for more details on the event.) The exhibition, curated by Dene Grigar and Kathi Inman Berens, is the heart of the Showcase, crafting enlightening experiences for visitors familiar and new to electronic literature.

They have also created a website for the Exhibit, so those who cannot physically attend can benefit from experiencing the works as curated. Their curatorial statements are worth exploring to understand some of their rationale behind their choices. They have also done an wonderful job of contextualizing each work, so I recommend exploring these resources directly on their site.

To mirror the logic of the exhibit, I have taken the list of electronic literature stations from the “Featured Works” page and linked the titles to all the entries. All the entries directly linked to from the exhibition have been tagged to aid in future searches and exploration.

The works without links haven’t been reviewed for one of two main reasons:

  • Availability: I ♥ E-Poetry focuses on Web-deliverable works, though it has made some exceptions with well documented pieces.
  • Genre: This blog is primarily interested in poetry, both as a genre and as poiesis. I generally don’t write about fiction, games, or cyberdrama, unless there is a specific poetic or e-poetic perspective I can explore with a given work.

Here is the complete list:

Electronic Literature Station 1:  From Concrete to Kinetic Poetry
  • Eduardo Kac, “Nao!” (1982/84)
  • Dan Waber, “Strings” (1999)
  • Thom Swiss, “Shy Boy” (2002)
  • Robert Kendall, “Faith” (2002)
  • A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz, “Afeeld” (2010)
Electronic Literature Station 2: From Cut Up to Broken Up
  • Michael Joyce, afternoon: a story (1990)
  • Stuart Moulthrop, Victory Garden (1991)
  • Judy Malloy, its name was Penelope (1993)
  • Jennifer T. Ley, The Body Politic (1999)
  • M.D. Coverley, Egypt:  The Book of Going Forth by Day (2006)
  • Stephanie Strickland, “slippingglimpse” (2007)
Electronic Literature Station 3:  From Pong to Literary Games
Electronic Literature Station 4:  From the Great American Novel to the Digital Multimodal Narrative
  • Rand Miller, Robyn Miller, & David Wingrove, Myst (1993)
  • Ingrid Ankerson & Megan Sapnar, “Cruising” (2001)
  • Michael Mateus & Andrew Stern, Façade (2005)
  • Evan Young & Geoffrey Young, The Carrier (2009)
  • Steve Tomasula, TOC the Novel (2009)
Electronic Literature Station 5:  From Artists’ Books to Electronic Art

Other Works Exhibited:

Readings & Performances at the Showcase:

This is a historic event, in which a literature beyond the book comes to the house the book built.

Electronic literature has arrived!

“Ñao! [No!]” by Eduardo Kac

“Frequency” by Scott Rettberg and the machine (part 1 of 5)

“Know Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, et. al.


“Know Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Christian Gratton, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, Jason Camlot, Jerome Fletcher, and Loss Pequeño Glazier.

The first version of the Know app was named after, designed for, and published a single poem: Lewis’ “Buzz Aldrin Doesn’t Know Any Better.” For version 2.0, he commissioned five poets to produce new poems with the authoring system. Here are some noteworthy observations on how they mapped out the app’s parameters.

  • David Jhave Johnston went to two minimalist extremes: using single word lines to produce a legible sentence while limiting the effect of the touch interface to two words in “4 Pound” (depicted above), and by using touch to make words move on such wide orbits that they effectively disappear.
  • J.R. Carpenter uses the structure to create a kind of semantic word cloud full of binary opposites in “Twinned Notions,” and in “up from the deep” conceptually maps the interface as a sea of words which the reader can pull maritime themed verse out into readability with touch and drag gestures.
  • Jason Camlot’s “Debaucher’s Chivalric Villanelle” draws connections between the repetitive structure of the villanelle and the repetitions of lines that occur because of the challenges of having overlaid language that can be activated by touch.
  • Jerome Fletcher’s “K Now” (depicted above) uses larger orbits for the words to move, creating space for legibility without needing to touch the screen, though touching any word brings out entire lines to the foreground for readers to better appreciate their sonorous approximations.
  • Loss Pequeño Glazier’s colorful polyglot “What Dragonfly Doesn’t Savoir Faire” uses multiple colors to signal slightly different behavior from the orbiting words— the red ones remain in the foreground, but the blue ones rotate with the white ones, occasionally becoming obscured. He also provides different instructions for the drag function, subverting the expected response from the interface. (Note also that either the app or iOS are unable to recognize or reproduce the character for accented letters.)

The structure of a word cloud from which one can pull lines through touch is a remarkably versatile structure and it would benefit from a version that allows readers to explore it with their own texts and controls, as they did with the Speak app.

Featured in ELO 2013: Chercher le Texte Virtual Gallery

“Speak Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Jim Andrews, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, and Aya Karpinska

"Speak App" by Jason Edward Lewis and Bruno Nadeau
“Speak App” by Jason Edward Lewis and Bruno Nadeau

Speak Poems” by Jason Edward Lewis, Bruno Nadeau, Jim Andrews, David Jhave Johnston, J.R. Carpenter, and Aya Karpinska

This suite of poems by several prominent writers in the e-lit community was written using the Speak app, an authoring system developed by Lewis and Nadeau. This is the first in the P.o.E.M.M series (Poems for Excitable Mobile Media), a series of apps designed to explore the expressive, artistic, and publication potential of Apple’s iOS computational environment, Store, and touchscreen devices. The app opens to “What They Speak When They Speak to Me,” Lewis & Nadeau’s original touchscreen poem for large installations. The app offers other poems as well as the option for readers to explore the system by entering texts. Considering the effort that goes into creating computational frameworks for e-lit works, it is a great idea to open them up for further writerly interventions. It is therefore worthwhile to see what four talented writers have done and how their own poetics and thematic concerns are expressed through this framework. The main observable variables are font and lines of text, which readers access in different portions and sequences.

  • In “Character,”Jim Andrews writes meta textual lines from the personified poem’s voice that focus the reader’s attention on the interface.
  • Jhave’s “Let Me Tell You What Happened” reveals fragments of a situation that most people would find difficult to speak about.
  • Carpenter juxtaposes two very different conceptual frames evoked by her poem’s title, “Muddy Mouth.”
  • Karpinska’s “The Color of Your Hair Is Dangerous” explores linguistic slippages resulting from speaking multiple languages.

It is worth noting that all five poets (including Lewis) engage the theme of speech, structuring their lines to allow readers to intuit their structure. They help map out the framework’s rhetorical potential.

Featured in ELO 2013: Chercher le Texte Virtual Gallery

“Living Will” by Mark Marino

Screen capture of "Living Will" by Mark Marino. A will is displayed with instructions. Text: "LIVING WILL / by E R Millhouse / LIVING WILL / You hold in your hands the Living Will & Testiment of E.R. Millhouse, making you the controlling executor/rix, beneficiary, and heir. / INHERITANCE / My daughter, Salomee / Bequests.......4 / Legal Fees........605 / Medical Fees.....160 / Ta........4 / DRXL........93 / POV.........Salomee"
Open “Living Will” by Mark Marino

This next generation hypertext fiction and game shortlisted for the 2012 New Media Writing Prize is a wonderful example of how contemporary HTML and JavaScript can bring in multiple nodes into the same page to produce a seamless new document— a testament to the paths taken by the reader. Powered by two JavaScript libraries, Undum and JQuery, this work uses a scoring system to reward and punish the choices made by the reader/player who controls a character in the story, presumably with the goal of getting the most money. All this, conceptually framed by the structure and language of a legal document— a last will and testament— provides a genre through which a deceased character with an aptly Victorian name, E. R. Millhouse, can address his living heirs.

Read more