Notably different approaches to navigation and design are evident in the works appearing in this newest number of the New River.
Robert Kendall's elegantly simple navigation seems perfect for the paired poems of "A Study in Conveyance." He calls the poems "duets," or "double poems," and he offers readers the chance to read through them independently, but side by sideas if presented on the page in two columns, with stanzas that appear and disappear at the click of a button. Kendall, one of the best known and most widely published of hypertext poets, seems to me to have simplified his approach to navigation and design in these poems, choosing not to play with the multimedia possibilities of web-based writing, a choice that focuses attention on the words themselves as they appear and disappear from a relatively quiet screen.
David Herrstrom takes a similar approach in "Sorting Things Out and Putting Things in Their Place: A Dictionary for Those Who Suffer from Acute Classificatory Anxiety." (Herrstrom is clearly intent on remaining the New River poet with the longest titles.) In this latest hypertext offering, he offers readers a navigation icon that allows for random reading through his collection of "taxoms." The emphasis here is all on the words on the screen, with an approach to navigation that's similar to shuffling pages.
Joel Wieshaus, on the other hand, seems to revel in the navigation and design possibilities of hypermedia. His pages dance around as animated GIFs make words appear and disappear, and visual images spin and slide. Given that the principal character in Wieshaus's ambitious project in the human brain itself, his approach seems absolutely appropriate. Part reading and part viewing, "Inside the Skull House" is a hypermedia composition intent on exploring the innovative possibilities in digital writing.
Different writers, different approaches: all exploring the possibilities of writing for the screen.