A Note on Hypertext Poetry:

This poem was written to illustrate the basic principles of hypertext and HTML for a poetry class I taught. It therefore has no fancy codes in it, just links and text. The idea was that my students would be able to imitate (without having an HTML editor) the coding in the poem to write their own poems.

The poem follows the very basic structure of having many pages with a tiny
"poemlet" on each one. The pages are called "nodes" in the
hypertext and the links are the arrows connecting the nodes. If you have ever
taken a math class which touches on graph theory, you will recognize this structure
as a directed graph. Put simply, a *graph* is a diagram of dots with the
dots linked by arrows, which mean "you can go from this dot to that dot."
The dots in a graph are called *nodes* and the arrows are sometimes called
(directed) *edges*. A graph is *connected* if all the dots can be
reached from every dot; in other words a connected graph is in a single piece.
A graph has a *Hamiltonian path* if there is a way to travel through each
node without coming back to a node you have already visited. Some people think
a hypertext should have Hamiltonian paths, or at least ways of reading that
don't involve having to go back very often to pages you have already seen. A
*tree *is a graph with no loops, and it can be seen as a starting point
(the *root* of the tree) with a bunch of choices, and then the choices
have choices, and so on until you reach the *leaves*, which are the endpoints
and have no more choices to take. Hypertexts in which there is a story and you
choose options for what happens and what happens next is based on your choice,
which is foillowed by another choice etc. are often trees. An example of a hypertext based on a tree is "The Bar Game" in "The Usability Chronicles," by Martha Deed and Millie Niss. Poetry, on the other
hand, often contains loops and has a more complicated structure.

The structure of this poem is (with some nodes omitted because they will not fit on the diagram):