The Electronic Labyrinth


Everglade, written by Rod Willmot of Sherbrooke, Quebec, is a long poem in hypertext, each node of which offers a self-contained stanza of blank verse. It was written in Willmot's own DOS-based hypertext environment, Orpheus.

The program is deceptive in its simplicity, running without intruding on the reading experience, yet providing the navigation functions one would expect of a literary hypertext. Clicking the right mouse button highlights the anchors. Unlike other hypertext systems, it is possible to read the work without the distraction of the highlighted words. The text thus provides a relatively transparent interface, allowing the reader to concentrate on the work itself.

Willmot uses the term "door" to describe the anchors which yield to other nodes. Everglade extends and enacts this metaphor. The opening poem evokes the image of a house, with certain words acting as "doors" onto different reading paths:

Doorways open,
to ponds
with more doorways,
the currents curling
among themselves
while apparently flowing elsewhere
How many rooms
could fit
in a lake like this?
there are corridors bending
where before there were
four square walls

Poetically, Willmot is most convincing when he describes childhood reminiscences or contemplative moments. The hypertext format provides an ideal vehicle by which to map the turns of memory and metaphor, following from home to everglade waterfall in a seamless series of imagistic transitions.

Willmot has also published several printed books, including: The Meal of Magic Cards (1976), The Ribs of Dragonfly (1984), and Sayings for the Invisible (1988). He has also edited an anthology of erotic haiku. Everglade is available as shareware.

Rod Willmot
535 Duvernay
Sherbrooke, PQ
J1L 1Y8

© 1993-2000 Christopher Keep, Tim McLaughlin, Robin Parmar.
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