Dan Waber’s “a kiss”

Dan Waber’s “a kiss” is a piece of hypertext poetry created using Twine. The start page reads “This is a story that unfurls in many directions at once. Begin with a kiss.” You are then presented with how you want to approach this moment of the kiss: before, after, left, right, out, or in. Each of these choices takes you to a stanza that ends with four links that expand upon what was referenced in the stanza. Some of the information talks about the kitchen or the house where the kiss occurs, others link to discussion of food, and some provide further information on the couple.

Aesthetically, the color scheme was nice. With the exception of the black start passage, the rest of the passages are a pale yellow background with black text and blue links. For me, it was a bit upsetting that the blue links didn’t change to show that I had already visited them, but that might be a way of enabling the reader to get lost in the moment and all the memories surrounding the kiss.

The strongest aspect of the poem seems to be all the intimate information offered about the couple. You learn not just about this kiss that they share, but about their house, their pets, their relationship, their family. You begin to feel like a fly on the all as the poem offers you lists of things on their kitchen cabinets or arbitrary, seemingly insignificant memories about half-filled glasses of water on the kitchen counter in the summer. More so, this openness makes you want to keep reading and go through all the links and find out as much as you can, because the memories presented aren’t cliche, but very unique, special moments.

By building and linking all these moments together and having them centered around the kiss, it seems that it is showing how a kiss in this relationship isn’t just a kiss, but a connection to so many memories built into their relationship. I found it to be a really good use of Twine, and how easily compelling writing can pull a reader in and keep them going through all the links so that they are sure they’ve read and experienced everything, some things more than once and within new contexts.

  1 comment for “Dan Waber’s “a kiss”

  1. eng1
    April 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

    It was a little obnoxious that the links didn’t change color after being clicked on but I agree that maybe that was done on purpose to show that before and during a kiss you may be lost in the moment. During moments like this in real life, it’s hard to recall exactly what you were thinking before it happened. You talked about the other stanzas as memories linked to the kiss and how it may expand on how one kiss is a connection to the foundation of their relationship, however, you only briefly talked about the indirectly related stanzas a little bit. When playing the game, there are options such as “the gutter guys”, “the stuffed pork loin” that do not directly talk about the relationship. Maybe the reason that is true is because the kiss was never expected, or desired depending on the pathways you chose. It would have been nice to have heard a deeper interpretation from you as well.

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