Deena Larsen does not delve into her writing in the format of a novel, nor does she format her poems in a collection-like book. Instead, she made use of the tool known as HyperCard; which allowed her to imbed her poetry within a click of a place on a map or on an object, etc. This is all successfully done through using links, known as hypertext. For example, if you click the following link, http://www.eastgate.com/MS/Town_Map_640.html, you should be guided to a webpage of a map of Marble Springs. On this webpage, you can explore the given links to access the poems which specifically relate back to a location on the map. (Please note that the webpage you are brought to is not the full version of Deena Larsen’s text. This version is simply a World Wide Web sample portion of her text, provided by Eastgate Systems. In the full HyperCard version, readers can navigate to the poems through clicking on the map specifically, but in this sample, this is undoable). These poems which link back to the map, reflect upon the lives of those who consumed that specific location in the fictional town of Marble Springs.
In an artist statement written in 2007, Deena describes that:
“Marble Springs debuted in 1993, the year HyperCard died. I went to the ’93 Hypertext Conference, saw the world-wide-web in its infancy (and, of course, completely failed to recognize its significance), and bewailed the announcement that HyperCard would no longer be a supported Apple software. Still, it was worth it. Just being able to be in that world of Marble Springs was worth all of the writing, programming, and fiddling and re-fiddling and debugging and re-debugging. It was even worth doing Marble Springs 2.0 on an antiquated system—even though this never saw the light of day. (Editing William Dickey’s entire works after he had died in ’94 was worth it—even though translating this to something readable— and figuring out who owns copyrights now—is still on my to do list.) I mounted exhibits of Marble Springs to showcase how quickly things became antique, replete with an old braided rug and a school desk rescued from a mountain-fast one-room school.” (Larsen, 2007)
This statement goes to represent that her work had not been released for long before HyperCard had been discontinued on Apple software’s. Essentially, this left Deena looking for other alternatives for future works. She further states in her author statement:
“Searching for a new tool, I spent three late fast nights with Kathryn Cramer at that ’93 conference, learning the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of StorySpace. StorySpace is/was the best of software (at last, you could see the wild vistas links and spaces and understand the whole of an interlinked text) and it was the worst of software (save early, save often, and still experience the bleak frustration of the locusts of programming bugs swarmed and devoured your work). In StorySpace, I explored the meaning of structure, the idea that the sculpting of a text could mean as much as the connections and the words (Samplers). StorySpace was the closest we ever came to an embodying of link and node, with native hypertexts roaming the landscape,” (Larsen, 2007)
Though Deena Larsen’s Marble Springs is not made available on her newly used tool, StorySpace, it still contains similar aspects despite being on HyperCard. This includes the ability to create hypertext links within writing, objects, maps, images, etc.; though as Larsen mentions, StorySpace seems to be the better alternative for this type of literature production, and reader navigation, especially after the discontinuing of HyperCard on Apple software’s.
Marble Springs would be a fantastic collection of poems to explore fully through HyperCard, if the tool were still supported on Apple devices. However, though the sample of the writing on Eastgate Systems is cut short, it still allows for readers to engage with her first work and explore reading hypertext poetry.
This entry was created for the purpose of Dani Spinosa’s course titled ENGL 4309H: Digital Adventures in English: Engaging With The Digital Humanities, at Trent University in March of 2021.
Larsen, Deena. “Marble Springs.” Eastgate Systems, 1993. Retrieved from
http://www.eastgate.com/MS/Title_184.html. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.
Larsen, Deena. “Deena Larsen’s Artist Statement.” The Deena Larsen Collection at the
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. Retrieved from
https://archive.mith.umd.edu/larsen/items/show/165.html. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.