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Week 11
  Poetic Possibilities 2 – the Topographic

One interesting poetic hypertext genre mixes the flaneur with the bricoleur.

Texts:  Jay David Bolter, Writing Space (Special Reserve)

‘In place of hierarchy, we have a writing that is only topical: we might also call it ‘topographic’. p25.

‘Paths can, as in a tree structure, indicate subordination.’ p24

‘Electronic writing is both a visual and verbal description. It is not the writing of a place, but rather a writing with places, spatially realised topics. Topographic writing challenges the idea that writing should be merely the servant of spoken language’ p25

Many writers in the 20th C adopted this mode. Note the Lyrical Ballads was an important breakthrough for topographical writing.

The word ‘topographic’ meant a written description of a place originally. Then later referred to mapping and to visual and mathematical rather than the verbal. 

Topographies - creative investigations/explorations of place using hypermedia.

Look out for Iain Sinclair – (Not in the library):
‘Drifting purposively is the recommended mode . . . a poetic of entropy - but the born-again flaneur is a stubborn creature, less interested in texture and fabric, eavesdropping on philosophical conversation pieces, than in noticing everything.' [i]

'Time on these excursions should be allowed to unravel at its own speed, that's the whole point of the exercise. To shift away from the culture of consumption into a meandering stream. Cut those wires.' [ii]

Exercise: Write a hypertextual work (any genre - 500 words approx) of a topographical nature. 
This will be in contrast to the more formal abstract work of Borges we looked at in Week 5.

What I am looking for is closely observed and detailed good imaginative writing and appropriate use of hypertext techniques.

 


[i] Iain Sinclair, Lights out for the Territory, Granta, 1997. p4

[ii] Iain Sinclair, ibid, p7.