Individual Work
Summer Skin

“Summer Skin” by Elizabeth Knipe is a straightforward interactive, hypertext poem that captures the softness and dreaminess of summer. The poem is set against a colored background that changes as circles of pink, yellow, green, blue, and purple expand and retract, giving it almost a slow, pulsing feel, along with imagery of a hot, summer sun. The poem begins with the phrase “our summer-brown skin / mingled there / still warm against the grass / fresh in the evening.” It is then up to the reader to find the hypertext words that lead to another stanza of the poem. Often, the same stanza will keep reappearing because it is linked to multiple hyperlinks and the user will have to search for the links to a new section. While the first and last stanzas have a predetermined order of appearance, the other four stanzas have no set order and can be accessed at random depending on the hypertext selection. The hyperlinked text includes words such as: green, dreaming, inside, hearts, muscles, knee, mingled, and between. These terms support the dream-like quality of the piece, and the soft colors and phrases lend a rather sensual element. The poem speaks of love and possibly a summer romance. However, like summer, love does not last forever. Perhaps, like the reoccurring stanzas, things can seem eternal and always accessible until time suddenly runs out, like arriving at the end of the poem and no longer having a way back. Although there is a certain warmth and loveliness to the piece, there is also a sense of sadness at the end reminding readers that many things in life are temporal.