Hypertext Town: Marble Springs by Deena Larsen

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

"The Hill," an introductory poem of the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, is an epic style invocation with a series of repeated questions about the whereabouts of dead citizens of the town, each called by name, and a refrain “all are sleeping on the hill.” Because the fate of the deceased is just shortly mentioned, reading the poem today makes us want to activate the cross-referrals: Each name begs to be converted to a link and take us to a more detailed story of its bearer's life and death.

This is what Deena Larsen wanted to do with Masters’ poems since her childhood and is what she implemented in Marble Springs, a collection of hypertext narrative poems published in 1993. Released on HyperCard by Eastgate Systems, Inc. and read on eight-inch screens of Macintosh Classic II, Marble Springsconverts Masters’s formula into an engaging matrix of stories about the small mining town in Colorado. Each poem in the collection recreates key events from a live of a single character, mostly a woman, and includes several links to her family members, neighbours, institutions she affiliates with, or “moods” that connect her to other characters.

Pull Quotes: 

The ontology of nested and networked digital objects is rich, diverse, and transcends the simple node-link model. Larsen demonstrates that the unit of poetic, narrative, or networked meaning is something altogether different. . . .  This process, often compared to quilt-making in Larsen’s other works, in not equal to a simple link traversal or click-and-display type of interface action.

Opening screen of Marble Spring 1.0
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Dene Grigar