Storyspace Estranged: Kathy Mac’s Unnatural Habitats

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

There is a third group of Storyspace hypertexts, and it includes works that aim to utilise poetic potential of both hypertext links and hypertext maps. Among these, Unnatural Habitats by Kathy Mac is the most representative, consistent, and beautiful example. Perhaps not surprisingly, because as a collection of interlinked poems, it represents hypertext poetry in most literal, not only metaphorical, manner. Advertised as “poetry of primitive submarines, crippled spaceships, and basement apartments,” the hypertext of this Canadian poet explores many different ways in which people make their own habitats unnatural, inhabitable, and hostile. 

Pull Quotes: 

When reading the “habitats,” each comprised of up to a dozen of lexias, our progress is accompanied by its alternative spatial representation on the Storyspace Map, and––most importantly––by the visual, spatio-temporal enactment of such progression. In other words, it is not only the visual arrangements of lexias on the map that contributes to our understanding of or our immersion in the habitat in question, but also a series of animated frames marked on a map as readers goes through the poem. 

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Dene Grigar