Linking "The Landscape Garden" Exercise

from Parker, A Poetics of the Link

The linking schema, or, as I’m lovingly calling it, linkage, makes the hypertext. I use an introductory exercise on the first day of my beginning hypertext courses to make this point. Sampling from the closely intertwined short story collection Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, I take about ten paragraphs and put them on separate webpages. I then link them together based on imagery, a kind of visual trope. For instance the word "blood" in one sentence will link to a node with a sentence with the word "mosquito" in it which links to a node with a sentence and the word "syringe" in it, and so on. We then read together the print text and the hypertext version and discuss the differences.

My students' assignment is to come up with their own linking schema for a ten-node hypertext version of the same Johnson text. Nothing fancy per se, just a rearranged version with some rationale (or anti-rationale) for the linkage.

The next class we end up with as many different hypertexts as there are students. Some base links off people’s names or other image relationships, similar moments in different stories, even repetitions of grammatical structures - each text therefore emphasizes certain aspects, creating a different kind of linking presence, which becomes a part of the story.

Use a paper copy of Poe, "The Landscape Garden." Consider each paragraph a node. Link the nodes from text to text or text to node to create your own version of reading "The Landscape Garden." To keep things in control, use no more than two links per node.

Once you have finished, develop an extensive paragraph of rationale for the linkage you have created. Draw on what Parker writes, but also consider what Neilson and Lynch write about links and reading hypertext.

suggestions for working

You might want to create a few copies of the paper copy of "The Landscape Garden" to experiment with. If you need more, try here.

You might cut up the sheets into separate paragraphs to make linking easier. If you would like to experiment on your own wiki pages or blog or website, be my guest. Other options for creating simple hypertexts online might be available. You need to be able to link from a string of text to a node.


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