Correspondent: Christopher R.
> thanks for the chapbook, I enjoyed it.  I'm quite interested
> in the potential of hypertext and electronic transmission of
> poetry and prose, though most of the current crop of hypertext
> has all the sponteneity of those old rhyming Burma Shave signs
> on highways--that is, it's not new if all you do is press a few
> hypertext buttons to read a conventional text.  But I did like
> feature in the last RIF/T where you could be sent anywhere in
> the text...
Yes, hypertext perhaps the most misunderstood creature. I cringe when I hear the word because, as you rightly say, most people just think of it as automated linear text! I relish your sense of its possibilities. (Why also I stick to the word "links" in certain
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possibilities. (Why also I stick to the word "links" in certain cases. For example, pages set up in the EPC use links for the most straightforward applications. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's not "hyper" in the sense of agitated. Agitated of course the way some poetic text is packed and seething with movement while other schools prefer the polished statuette.)

Did want to mention that within about two weeks RIF/T will have another issue. It will include a hypertext chapbook by me; _my_ venture in the poetic possibilities of what I _would_ call hypertext: i.e., online hypertext. It resides within a play on ... etc. ... with its web there as "the text" ...

Correspondent: Ron S.

Did I explain this at all methodologically? I feel like we can explain this, or least varieties of it, that there's a kind of scheme. Looked at this way:

Footnote Model. OK, is what "books" have evolved too in one corner. Also ties to some ideas of seriality in that those footnotes at the bottom of a page. The are actually links, if you want more of this you gotta read that, etc. Actually you could extend this even to intext quotations. Throw in bibliographies, endnotes, you see
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even to intact quotations. Throw in bibliophilliacs, endgrope, you see graphies, endnotes, you see, it provides lateral intratextual movement. (See here Bolter, etc.)

Informational Model. Information systems. It makes sense! Lists that index at the top or scroll down. Building in connections to online databases. Describe a branch of information and contextualizing links to subsets of that branch. OK, best for botanists.

Shuffle Model. This is similar to what Charles did at that Internet conference--yes, you missed that--anyway, he was talking about hypertext so he cut up his speech and pasted it onto cards and the first part of his presentation he sat at a folding table, took out the cards and shuffled them. Thus the aleatoric elements couldn't be more tangibly located! (Brought down the house as usual I might add.)

To this list I might point to one further possibility:

Premeditated Leaps. You might say any leap is premeditated. But think of some of the hypertext people who mull over maps. There is a randomness presented yet there is a deliberateness. That is, they've got the whole map of the "land" in mind. So you could actually call this representation. It's in the same vein with traditional representational narrative in the positioning of a seemingly real (in the case of premeditated leaps, the "real" is the illusion of randomness) "world" through textual positioning. (You can say in the leaps method but the reader is choosing; well in the "It was a dark night and the stallion reared his fearsome hooves" there is reader choice: one reader might be an equistrian and instinctively lean forward to stabilize the torrent of equine force; another reader might be a six year old city child who only sees horses patrolling parades and thinks that there are going to be crushed skulls, etc.)

So that there is a lay of it and people's generic references to it are like using words like "writing," "speaking," or "art"--and not to mention that this closed system is generally a product...

Correspondent: E.

I still like your comment after the reading when you called it HYPOtext instead of etc. I like that sense of compression. First, that the html machine compresses everything you write unless you keep popping out of the writing to put in formatting codes. (Not exactly as smooth as Genny Lite.) Second, if we were talking about the, as I call them, "proprietary" systems, they are hypo, that is they are "beneath the skin," contained. You gotta have that brand o' software, right?

Correspondent: Charles B.

Not that I'm saying it's the limits of it I find offensive take

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Not that I'm preying on limits of it looked at offensively take a look. The closed systems insist on control. The open systems let control slide. In the first, you've got everything wrapped up. The map pre-figured. The font. Stability of links, etc. In the open system, which I always call "online hypertext" not only are there unpredictable variables with text formatting and the facts that some links will fail but there's the presence of all those links that eventually develop leading into the text. So say someone's reading some document in Australia that says for an example of really crappy hypertext, click here or someone in New Zealand is reading "this is innovative, etc., click here" the whole frame is undermined. In fact, the online version, as much as one may position is overwhelming counterframed. Thus, even as some of the writers about closed hypertext may be admired, one must think in terms of the fact that they are discussing alternative linearities within defined containers.
Correspondent: Kenneth S.
> had to shrink margins a bit in the book  i
> go with 75 chars. wide to be safe with MOST displays on rift...
> so some of your paragarphs have different line breaks
> and maybe a change in Mendum?
> well if their broke, mendum, and if not I can sendum?
Correspondent: E.

I ultimately prefer to call it "a poem in html," not hypertext, though I do wish to include that agitated sense, more "numerous," thus, html--the language itself--may be a better description of these efforts.

At some point it will be clear that following a link is a manual act with all the smallness of turning a page.

The writing occurred (besides the creation of some earlier versions) completely online. The texts, existing as separate files, were "hidden." They could never be "spread" out but were always opened individually, closed, another one opened, the former lapsing into immediate forgetfulness. Plato's condemnation of writing as destroying memory becomes slippery here as there may be a "record" but it is a progression of forgotten texts. Perhaps actually a worsening of the loss of memory.

Enjoys a curious relation to its own "production" since the only piece of "proofs" is in the link. The link may be highballing it to press but meanwhile the text can be worked on incessantly until the link is "published"--in fact it can be worked on beyond that "moment"--without ever the cessation that typesetting demands.