In a gesture towards its hypertextual re-engineering, most references to linear sequence beyond the paragraph (lexia) have been (literally) bracketed.

[CALCULATION] Martin Heidegger, “What are poets for?” in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper & Row, 1975) p. 115. The parallel “X” text of this essay is based on an edited sequence from the same Heidegger piece, extracted from pp. 111–20. The text has then been collocationally transformed, using a procedure I have described elsewhere (in John Cayley, “Beyond Codexspace: potentialities of literary cybertext,” Visible Language, 30.2 (Oct. 1996) 164–83, hereafter cited as BC), but in addition, words at the end of collocational jumps have, where possible, been chosen to spell out the mesostic message (in capitals) “what are poets for: technology calculation numbers.” The text printed is one possible rendition of a quasi-aleatory procedure which produces indeterminate results. It has not been edited. Heidegger’s text is cited and subverted as, in this context, an arch-conservative counter-current, one apotheosis of the view of “writing” which claims that it can (in exceptional instances) transcend (even) its (traditional) technologies (see ¶2), and (the evil of) technology itself.

[BRANDED] See also the discussion of related issues in John Cayley, “Pressing the ‘Reveal Code’ Key,” EJournal, 6.1 (Mar. 1996), hereafter cited as PR. [EJournal is an e-mail delivered, peer-reviewed, academic periodical — to subscribe, send ‘sub ejrnl’ to:; to get vol. 6, no. 1, send ‘get ejrnl v6n1’ to the same address, or visit the journal’s web site: philos/ejournal/ home.html].

[AUTHORED] BC, op. cit., p. 168.

[AGENTS] PR, op. cit., lines 237 ff. This, in turn, was written in response to remarks of Jim Rosenberg, remarks posted to the (majordomo) discussion list “ht_lit” (hypertext literature: ht_lit@journal.biology., 9 June, 1995.

[PoMo] George P. Landow, Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992); Jay D. Bolter, Writing Space: The Computer, HyperText, and the History of Writing (Hillsdale: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1991); George P. Landow ed., Hyper/text/theory. (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1994); Michael Joyce, Of Two Minds: hypertext pedagogy and poetics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995).

[WRITERLY] Perhaps it would be clearer to use Barthes’ original terms, since the standard translation of scriptible, “writerly”, must also be understood as “reader-centred”. Roland Barthes, S/Z (Translation by Richard Miller, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1990; orig. French ed. Paris: Edition du Seuil, 1973), pp. 3-6.

[INTERNAL] Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy: the technologizing of the word (London & New York: Routledge, 1988, orig., Methuen, 1982) pp. 78 ff. and p. 81: “… intelligence is relentlessly reflexive, so that even the external tools that it uses to implement its workings become ‘internalized’, that is, part of its own reflexive process.”

[NON-LINEAR] See Jim Rosenberg’s essay on the subject at his web site, http:// user/ jer/, and see also his introductory essay to: Intergrams (Boston: Eastgate Systems, 1993, published as part of The Eastgate Quarterly Review of Hypertext, 1.1). He has also posted a draft discussion of these issues to ht_lit (see note AGENTS), 26 Mar. 1995.

[CYBORG] Espen Aarseth has discussed a “cyborg aesthetics” of literature in his 1995 University of Bergen thesis, Cybertext: perspectives on ergodic literature, p. 59 ff. A book based on this work is forthcoming from John Hopkins University Press.

[SHIFTEROp. cit., PR, lines 243 ff.

[FORMS] For ¶22–23 I must acknowledge both the discussion of a “logic of [formal] exemplification” derived from Cage, in a paper presented by Tyrus Miller “Paragram as participation: anarchist poetics in John Cage and Jackson Mac Low” given at ‘Assembling Alternatives: An International Poetry Conference/Festival’, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA (29 Aug - 2 Sept 1996), and especially Joan Retallack’s challenge to this suggestion, namely her preference for the “experience of a possible form of life” in questions afterward.

[TEXTUALITIES] Aarseth has developed this in a number of places, firstly, in his essay, “Nonlinearity and literary theory” in Landow ed., op. cit. p. 51 ff., then in more detail in “Text, Hypertext or Cybertext: a typology of textual modes using correspondence analysis” (forthcoming in Research in Humanities Computing, 6, ed. Susan Hockey, Nancy Ide and Giorgio Perissinotto, Oxford: Oxford University Press), and also as part of his thesis, op. cit. p. 67 ff.

[MOO] MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) and MOOs (MUD Object Orientated) are recast by Aarseth as Multi-User Discourses (in his thesis, op. cit., p. 164 ff.) and they represent what is perhaps the most radical form of textuality — with immense literary potential — currently implemented beyond codexspace. “Despite” their origins in game playing, these textual spaces require just the sort of analysis which Aarseth has pioneered, an analysis capable of treating them as “potential literature”. As a practical experiment, hypertext researchers at Brown University have established “Hypertext Hotel,” a MOO space with explicitly literary inclinations.

[ERGODIC] Aarseth, Cybertext, op. cit. p. 207. Much as it concerns many of the questions raised, it is impossible to discuss ergodic art further within the scope of this essay. It is a term worth pursuing.

[MODULATED] Here is a brief list of examples (with no attempt on my part at “catastrophic/judgmental interaction,” see ¶36). Linking is everywhere, especially on the World Wide Web but also in work published by pioneers of “serious, literary” hypertext such as Eastgate Systems in Cambridge MA, publishers of Michael Joyce’s landmark hypertext Afternoon: a story, which employs the sophisticated local hypertext authoring software “Storyspace.” The work of Robert Kendall, for example his most recent, A Life Set for Two (published by Eastgate, 1996), exhibits transience (it is kinetic), conditional linking and user configuration. Jim Rosenberg’s Intergrams and Barrier Frames (also Eastgate) can only be read if the reader intervenes (it is ergodic in Aarseth’s sense), revealing (tone-like) clusters of word-“simultaneities” arranged in spatially represented (diagrammatic) syntactic relations (see note NON-LINEAR). Charles O. Hartman has produced a body of generative, quasi-aleatory work, sometimes with other writers, including Jackson Mac Low and Hugh Kenner, accessible through his books, Sentences (with Hugh Kenner, Los Angeles: Sun and Moon, 1995), and most recently, Virtual Muse (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, 1996). My own disk- and Web-published “Indra’s Net” series, described (up to Indra’s Net VII) in BC, op. cit., exemplifies all the textual characteristics mentioned. As World Wide Web works extend their abilities to processing as well as linking, they too will exhibit a wider range of cybertextual features, although aleatory linking or linking which is reader-determined is already a powerful, if anarchic, technology which can be easily exploited. See Chris Funkhouser’s remarks in his Web essay and links to relevant resources in, “A proto-anthology of hypermedia poetry” at ~poetry/ hyperpo.html.

[LATE] “Late age of print” is a much-discussed phrase of Jay Bolter, op. cit.

[AV] The possible effect of the rise of audio-visual channels on the development of literary cybertext is also discussed in BC, op. cit. p. 166–67.