City on Fire

A new hypertext experience

A Note from the Author

I am a firm believer in the importance of individual symbolism and personal interpretation. That's why I was at first put-off by hypertext literature--because each link had been placed with the author's intention of guiding the reader towards a specific understanding of the poem.

I felt...restricted. Active reading got lost in the html of these hypertextual works. I'm not sure about you, but when I'm actively reading a piece of literature, I like to mark in the margins, underline words, make comments, criticize, and highlight!! Manipulating the text for your own symbolic needs is half the fun of reading. Much of hypertext, however, eliminates this kind of engaged reading.

For this reason, when I set out to create my own hyptertext poetry, one of my main goals was to give the reader a resource--an outlet-- through which to document their interpretation. I do believe that everyone should have a different understanding of the same work. Each individual has a unique identity that affects how they read. Don't you find it rewarding to add your personal style to...well...everything? Food, fashion, piercings, sports uniforms, hair styles, interior design, relationships, the possibilities are endless!

I hope that as you work your way through City on Fire you will feel free to be an engaged reader. What do the words and images symbolize for you? What do you think of the structure? What don't you like? The comment boxes are your margins. (note: on some versions of Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer the forms function as a regular email pop-up. If this is the case for you, just paste the comment into the body of the text and click "send". All of the other information is already filled out for you). If you get lost while reading the poem, the Citylink will bring you back to this page. I have also provided a link to the link-less version of this poem so that you may review the poem in its entirety at any time during your reading (or perhaps you would like to print it out?).

Sidenote: City on Fire is a poem based on revision. The original poem is entitled Suppose and was written by another author, whose name I do not have access to. The two works, which use much of the same vocabulary are, however, completely different. OOOHH--are you having déja vu?! Yes, folks, each time you take a different path through the poem you are adding to City on Fire's revisionary legacy by creating your very own version of the poem!!) When you have finished reading, I would welcome hearing about your experience with this hypertext. Please fill out the survey below...if you dare!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoy! ~Shira E. Crane

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This is one of the most effective pieces of hypertext literature I've ever experienced. I'm starting a fan club devoted to you!

Looks purdy, but kinda confusin'

Understanding this poem was like trying to assemble a dollhouse-sized, actual working dishwasher by following a set of directions that were written in an alien language and using dollhouse-sized tools; while at the same time being suspended 300 feet over Niagra Falls by a sturdy grape vine (which was wrapped around my left ankle and temporarily attached to a helicopter) -- during a hurricane.

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