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.
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.
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.
For the past 40 entries, I ♥ E-Poetry has been focused on poetry written using social media, and with the exception of a handful of works, the vast majority has been created with and for Twitter. In addition to Twitter fictions, three emergent genres have expanded the traditional scope of the poetic in this social network: bots, performance works, and netprovs. To explore abundant examples of each case, click on the links to tags above or visit the March and February 2013 archive (the entries begin on February 17).
I conclude this series by examining poetic works authored by you— that is, trends, memes, hashtags, and other ways in which Twitter prompts people (such as yourself) to write poetry or at least produce tweets that foreground the poetic function of language.
As a social network that values concision (with its 140 character limit), it already encourages compression that can lead to the poetic. This has encouraged many to write haiku, couplets, free verse, prose poetry, and other short kinds of traditional poetry. The folks at Twitter acknowledge this by announcing new line break functionality in their Web client with a haiku.
The haiku is so popular in Twitter, that you just need to visit the #haiku hashtag to discover more poetic creativity than could every be anthologized in print (while I wrote this sentence, 5 new haiku were tweeted). Line breaks are now starting to be used to create traditional and visual poetry and ascii art in Twitter.
Twitter’s hashtag functionality has been used for more focused creative prompts, leading to massive trends of artful language production. Some examples I’ve come across and enjoyed are: #lesserfilms, #fivewordtedtalks, Also worth a look are Twitter’s reports on 2012 Trends, 2011 Hot Topics, and 2010 Trends, which feature trends like: #idontunderstandwhy, and #threewordstoliveby. Follow the links to read a huge sampling of the most recent products of these language memes that spread in the imagination through this social network. For more deliberately poetic examples, read my entry on “@Tempspence and the Tempspence Poets,” and participate in the recently launched #spinepoetry, documented in this Tumblr site.
More importantly: pick a constraint, start writing, and make the title of this entry true.