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Transcript from Friday’s Conversation

Paul Scott: Thank you. Hello, my name is Paul Scott. My parents are Deaf; I grew up in a Deaf family, and I started experimenting with poetry when I was fifteen. And so now, I’ve been thinking about what’s the best offering I can give to you; it’s a poem, and it’s called “Tree”.

Debbie Rennie: Hello! My name is Debbie Rennie (this is my name-sign). I was born in Pennsylvania—woo-hoo!—but I come from Pittsburgh, sorry. At any rate, I moved to Sweden in 1981, and so I nearly lost all of my ASL, but coming back, I’m getting my ASL back; I’m working everything out for my poetry. So, I’m going to offer you a bit of ASL poetry—a trailer, poetry trailer.

“Poetry Trailer”

The jump-rope flies up, and falls to the ground, solitary.

My arm yanked up; my childhood, slipping away.

Pulled by an adult down a long hallway; cold lamps line the ceiling. Fade to black.

1880: Milano.

Milano! Milano! Milano Conference, the audience awaits; the edict is declared.

Arms cut off: lip movements only. Fade to black.

In the window, curtains.

Through the curtains, a woman with a ponytail feigns innocence.

Her angry husband throws the holy wedding ring to the floor;

He pushes a piano out the window. Fade to black.

Suddenly, glass shatters. Shards of glass fly into the air;

The boy watches as the pieces float before his eyes.

The reflecting sun conjures memories:

Clouds. Trees. Water. Stone.  Fade to black.

Richard Carter: Hello! My name is Richard Carter; I’m from England. I was a Deaf child: I was born hearing and became deaf through meningitis at a very early age. I’ve been creating poetry for over 20 years, and this is the poem I’d like to offer you this evening—it’s entitled, “Apple Surprise”.

Peter Cook: Hello everyone. My name is Peter Cook (this is my name-sign), and I became deaf when I was three, and I fell in love with ASL when I was 19—gotcha, huh? Now, Kenny has been my partner in ASL poetry for many years, so come on up, Kenny. Introduce yourself!

Kenny Lerner: No, you introduce me!

Peter: Also, he will be teaching a workshop tomorrow for voicing for ASL poetry.

Kenny (interpreting):

On a stony ledge overlooking a river,

By a stand of trees, a cliff!

Rock! Water! And a bullfrog!

And he swims away.

Oh! I want to do to you from your head, all the way down.

Dancing, dancing breast to breast, with one heartbeat!

Her hair, neck—mine.

A cherry tree. A snow, snow-covered cherry tree.

A spring sun fog, it rises up together; coaxing out the buds;

A bluebird tugging!—coaxing out the fruit.

Donna Williams: Okay, hi! My name is Donna Williams. I’m from the UK, and I speak British Sign Language. I was born hearing, and I became deaf at 18 months of age. I went to a mainstream school, so I was only taught to learn sign language was I was 19 years of age. I’ve been doing poetry, therefore, for about six years. I just want to give you a brief poem now, which is called “The Duck and the Dissertation”.

Thank you.

John Wilson: Hello everybody. I’m also from England; my name’s John Wilson. I grew up Deaf, from a hearing family, and I started socialising within the Deaf world when I was eleven. And it was great, and gob-smacking to see so many people using sign language. And I remember a Japanese style of poetry, haiku, which is a very short form of poetry. And I want to deliver a short form of poetry for you, so, keep your eyes open, don’t blink, and I’ll give you a BSL haiku. And it’s called, “The Lift (Elevator)”.

Thank you.


Paul: So, we’ve been thinking about how we might conduct this open panel, and, so the first thing is to think about how poetry is valued in Britain—sign language poetry. There seems to be a lot more research going on, and a lot more visibility, and a lot more excitement surrounding sign language poetry, you know? So it looks like the future’s better. It looks like the cows’ve come home, finally. So I’m just wondering, what’s the value of ASL poetry to the Deaf community in America?

Peter: Okay, so—are you asking me about the Deaf community—about poetry in the Deaf community, or…?

Paul: Yes, value.

Peter: Hmm. In my experience, as I said, at the age of 19, I first began to absorb ASL. About 30 years ago, we’re talking now. So I’ve seen quite a bit of storytelling, poetry; I’ve seen the expansion of these art forms. Well, actually the expansion and contraction both.

Paul: We’ve certainly seen that in the UK, too.

Peter: In the Rochester, New York community, it’s grown and then shrunk. All over, I’ve seen that happen. Depending on individuals, frequently. So far as my own experience goes, in Rochester, New York, I went to NTID, which is a very large college with many Deaf students, and it was a place where Deaf poetry could be developed, but now, although I’ve seen it develop and expand all over, and there’s been a lot of on-going exchange. At the same time, out in the mainstream world, in the hearing world, whether they’re aware of ASL poetry—I feel like it’s barely penetrated the hearing world. It hasn’t really made that bridge. That bridge hasn’t happened. There are performances; there are venues in New York, monthly, where people go and get to see this performance art, but it’s just a taste. You know, we have the poetry there. So that’s the current situation as I see it. Debbie, what would you say?

Debbie: It’s really important to get this information out so that this world can expand. To make DVDs, to have schools included, teachers teaching about poetry and to have that part of the curriculum—I think that’s great. If that doesn’t happen, then I think that it’ll be hard for our poetry to develop in the future.

Peter: Also I’d like to think it’s important to have storytelling, poetry—and people with the language: ASL itself, as a language, people are always saying, you know, “do you have literature? Do you have literature? We need to see proof; we need to see verification of your stories!” Well, yes! We can challenge the literary world! We’ve got it here; it’s not just spoken and oral and written world, the literary world. We have the Deaf literature; we have the ability to meet them with our language, our sign language, meaning that we have that artistic form of language. We need to take it away from just the auditory and bring it to the visual. So that’s been a challenge.

Richard: I think it’s the same— Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. I teach: I work with children every day, and I can see the effects on Deaf children of learning poetry. They, you know, they react very negatively to English teachers trying to teach them English poetry, but when I’m going to the classroom and I try to teach them sign language poetry, it’s a way for them to get an introduction to English poetry. Once they understand sign language poetry, then they love poetry, and they’ll move on to English. And I think it’s also an incredible opportunity for me to transmit values to the younger generation.

Paul: I think that that value is something that research has been showing now, and it’s important to show the mainstream world that Deaf people are able to have these literary forms in their language, and the ease about providing access to literacy in both written and signed forms—what you said—I think it’s also very important about having DVDs and having those products that you can disseminate. It’s a way of us really penetrating into the mainstream community and getting them to see what we can do, and vice-versa. What they seem to be—there are a lot of parallels between you and the US.

I think all of it, actually—people are hungry for it.

Hungry, for sure! That’s the right word.

John: I agree with what we’ve talked about so far, but I also think that it’s not something that’s recently valued. If you look at some of the research from the Deaf communities over the last few hundred years—maybe even a thousand years, who knows?—there’s not much evidence out there, but we know that the Deaf communities have valued sign language, and that’s been ignored, principally, in the mainstream. It’s only in the last forty or fifty years when we’ve started to attract attention—and you know, maybe Deaf people wouldn’t have labelled what they were doing as “poetry”, but there would’ve been things that people now might call poetry. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the poet Dot Miles—Dorothy Miles: she was a British woman who then worked in America for many years, went back to the UK, and talked about poetry in performance, and that was something that took a long time to grow. The main way it had an impact was via See Hear, which was a magazine programme for the Deaf, similar to Deaf Mosaic as used to be in the US, and that was a way for the Deaf community to see visual BSL poetry, and it really penetrated the community. Since that time, more and more Deaf people have thought about experimenting with poetry. Unfortunately, the other programme, called Sign Line, had a very short shelf life—it was decommissioned. But there was some new influence that we started to see in schools of the Deaf. We know that Richard has started to do some work; we know that there are DVDs out there, so we’re saying that this has started to be really important. And hearing researchers—people who are new into the Deaf world—didn’t grow up in the Deaf world—are starting to do research, have been doing research, and assuring that we have forms: literary and artistic forms in sign language which are equal to the forms that we see in written languages—traditional written languages. So I think that it’s a very positive time at the moment.

I’m wondering—I’d like to hear more about your own history. You were talking about Dot Miles—Dorothy Miles—is that right? Yes. Who in America, we look up to her, actually, as an actress from the National Theatre of the Deaf, here, during the 1970s, I believe—yes, ‘70s. And she brought her poetry here, and we were stunned. The influence was vast. With her poetry being brought to the United States, and the National Theatre of the Deaf itself influenced her, which she brought back to England. So—could you talk a little more about that?

Can I—can I just say something? Can I answer to what he was just saying? Dot came back to London and there’s a Deaf college there, and she tried to teach English! So we were working from an English curriculum and trying to translate that into sign language, and it really wasn’t all that effective. So we began to look at the kind of the structure, you know, the rhythm. It was a mistake, you know, we tried it out. We tried to see if we could do in sign language what they did with English poetry, and it didn’t really transfer. In that process, we realised that BSL poetry can have its own rhythms and forms and patterns, and from there, that’s where we really kind of began to develop it, and the idea of BSL poetry really began to spread across the UK. So it was really important. So it was really important. Dorothy was a very significant figure in that, in terms of getting that ball rolling.

Richard: I never actually met Dot Miles—I never met her at all. But I know that because of the work that linguists have done researching her poetry. I met a Deaf linguist who said, “Do you know what you’re doing is poetry?” And it’s really that Dot Miles taught the Deaf linguists and the Deaf linguists taught me.

Paul: One thing to add about Dot: yes, she was inspirational. When she came back to the UK, it’s not true to say that she “brought” poetry to the UK: that’s not the same. I know that at that time we had the BDA, which is the equivalent of the NAD here in the US and she was able to really move that agenda forward. But we had some poetry prior to that, some people who were well known, but they wouldn’t necessarily have public performances, and it was Dot who kind of added that “magic spark” that brought wider audiences to sit and watch.

Peter: Ah, that’s actually very parallel to what happened here in America, and seeing Dot Miles seems, from my perspective, that—are any of you familiar with Eric Malzkuhn?—let me explain about him, Malz. So in the 1940s, roughly, well, actually prior to that in America, we had the Milano conference and the repercussions from that were that Deaf schools and Deaf teachers became very few. And in the 1920s, the NAD started to film Deaf people because they wanted to maintain the language, to have documentation. There was a woman, a storyteller, Hiawatha, a Native American woman—they filmed her. A Deaf woman—they still filmed her signing and storytelling. Poetry prior to that has no documentation. However, from there on out, people started to say, “we have Deaf poets”. But we didn’t have documentation until finally, Malz, who was at Gallaudet at the time. We call that the “golden years” of Deaf poetry, because a Deaf person would look at English and sign poetry and follow along in the English, basically translating written poetry. But Malz—boy, he took it on. He just decided that he would sign “Jabberwocky”. Are you familiar, are you all familiar over there with “Jabberwocky”? You know, Alice in Wonderland, the story of “Jabberwocky”?


Right. It’s written by Lewis Carroll—

That’s right!

Yes, you know, Lewis Carroll, the same one who wrote Alice in Wonderland. Yes, yes, exactly. Boy, are you all caught up there, interpreters?

Yeah, we’re okay!

So at any rate, Malz took it upon himself not to follow the English language that was written, but to create in sign language the essence of “Jabberwocky”. He was not following English sentences; he used his hands, his facial expressions, and his movement. In my opinion, he was the father of modern Deaf poetry. He planted a seed, and there were two schools which then diverged: one, in which people were following the English and basically translating English poetry, and another in which they were creating Deaf poetry, and that one has continued to grow and influence. For instance, Patrick Graybill, Ella Mae Lentz, Clayton Valli—all those Deaf poets from there on out. So we really cherish Malz and honour him, you know, just the way you look up to Dorothy Miles. But actually, both of them. They both had such an influence.

I think it’s a very interesting type—oh! Hang on.

Rachel: I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m going to ask if people can move slightly—the poets move into the light. It seems it’s quite dark there and I think people may require [an answer to something you said], so if you move into the light, hopefully people may be able to see better; we’ll be able to see Donna’s contribution. Can you still see each other? That the question as well—okay? Sorry to interrupt.

Donna: Okay, I was just watching the discussion that we were just having, and it strikes me—I’m very young, so I don’t mean to disrespect—but it seems like I do live in very interesting times in terms of sign poetry. I think, you know, you described the recent contraction of activity, but I think the period I’m getting to seems to be a real expansion of activity—I mean the research that’s being led in the UK on metaphor by Rachel Sutton-Spence has brought together a number of sign poets, and we’ve been running a number of workshops, so that’s been encouraging other people to come forward about their sign poetry, and I think that, okay, the fun things in that project are coming to a close, but I think in the future, there might be more and more and more activities like this one here in Philadelphia, you know, more workshops. And the more workshops we organise and the more people get exposed to sign poetry, the more people want to try sign poetry, give it a go, have the opportunity, then more projects like this—I think it’s great, and it’s a really interesting time to live in, and I think that the ball is really rolling.

Debbie: Okay, well, I’m really curious, if anyone is wondering whether—okay, so I moved to Sweden, you know, I was wondering whether—right? You’re interested in knowing, you know, why I moved to Sweden and—in 1991, I met a Swedish Deaf man, and I hadn’t seen a lot of people playing with poetry, just playing with sign, I began to learn some Swedish, and because I travelled around, I really didn’t see a lot of Swedish, you know, happening. It was very cold! It’s a cold country, you know, and people go around wrapped up, and their hands close to their bodies, you know, for body warmth—they couldn’t just lift their wings and fly. But anyway, I did meet a woman who signed poetry, and it was Swedish, and I asked her to break it down, and think about how it would be in sign language rather than signing a spoken language, so now I’m quite proud, because Sweden is quite a small country, maybe roughly the size of California, so the government—this department of education—I’m not quite sure if it’s maybe like the NEA here, or a little different, but anyway, in Sweden (I’m not sure the exact equivalent here) but it’s something like the NEA in Sweden. They actually asked me to go and write a curriculum for theatre for Deaf schools. There are five Deaf schools in Sweden, and there are drama teachers in each school, and they follow this curriculum, which I’m very proud of, which includes Deaf poetry! Yes! Wow, yes, this was a huge accomplishment. Meaning that Deaf schools are now asking for help about how to teach Deaf kids poetry. So, then, I’m working to develop educational materials in order to provide for them, and give trainings for teachers—I’m having to work with the children, and they say “Let’s go to poetry!” And I’m giving them tools, I’m helping to provide them with tools to invigorate the teaching of Deaf poetry and sign language poetry. So hopefully, that’s the legacy that I can leave and sleep well at night.

Just related to the history Peter was talking about, I’ve been thinking, I agree strongly with what you said before about prior to documentation, you know, that before that, really, there was so much happening at Deaf schools, you know, there was so much in the 1880s. Before then, there were Deaf clubs, there was so much rich sign language happening, and expression, and art, and poetry, and now, you know, with so much technology, and texting, and all of this, I’ve just—I feel that it’s going to be out there.

Peter: So—in terms of the present: what has been the growth—you know what I’m talking about?—what has been the growth in the last number of years?

Richard: You mean in the future, or—?

Paul: You mean, how do we start to grow, how do we start to… So I think, first I owe a debt of thanks to Bristol University, which has been instrumental in proving that we have a language and we have this art form, and that’s been a kind of site of growth. Lots of Deaf people have been very resistant to think about English as a form of poetry, but we’ve been able to bring people together, including younger poets like Donna, and actually start to think about exploring poetry in our own language, these workshops, discussions, learning opportunities. So, I mean, it’s not static—it does increase and decrease—but we’ve had some investment from the government funds, which has enabled us to really have quite a lot of publicity out there. Of course, you have to think strategically about how you can ensure that this is something which is sustainable, but there’s been a lot of people who’ve asked all of us about how we can do workshops as poets. So it’s great to also have this conversation to find out that there are lots of parallels in the States, and that we can bring some of your ideas back, and that we can maybe influence you. But if definitely seems to have a life of its own, and it seems to be developing and improving, and there always seems to be different people with different skills, different talents, different forms, and so it started to have real strength and real vitality. Would you agree?

John: Yes, I’d agree. Definitely. And I think Facebook—how many people here are on Facebook?—I mean, when I was growing up, you know, there was a Deaf poet in one location, a Deaf poet somewhere else—and now we’re all just bathing in a stream of information, Web-based information, aren’t we. And you know, you can download plenty, plenty, plenty of examples of signed poetry. And this kind of Web-based social networking really, really assists our cause, I think. You can sit there with your webcam at home, and, you know, just put stuff up on the Web, and send it out there!

Paul: Yeah, I mean, I think, already now in the UK it’s actually to try to increase their representation, what we would call BME, Black and Minority Ethnic groups. We have Asian—settled Asian communities, settled Black communities—and so we want to make sure that we see diversity within Deaf poets. And with the youngsters, whom we were able to pass some ideas to, I think it’s really important to see how they’re going to do it.

Peter: Well, you know, actually, I’ve got a parallel: here in America, before the ’80s, in Rochester, there was a huge expansion of poetry, you know, there were cafés, which were called Jazzberry’s, and there were Deaf and hearing both who would come to those kind of poetry slams, and there were interpreted performances before that we tried that was before we figured out how to do that, and so at that time—wow. It was rich. So—and that’s where I met Kenny, actually, and we developed the Flying Words Project, we got some money and we set up a foundation for Deaf poetry to continue its expansion, and I thought—and I mean, honestly, to be honest, that was just going to take off, and make a whole new world. Well, I was kind of young. But when I went to Chicago, I was all set to go, and then my first show opened, and there were three people in the audience. There were three people there. Well, Rochester’s a different story. Rochester’s a special, special place, I realised. So now, as I get older, I see again that the Deaf poetry world expands, gets bigger, gets smaller, it varies. And you know, with education, with colleges, teaching, and you know, analysing poetry and storytelling, this is all expanding, too—there are quite a few teachers here tonight, right? I’m wondering, how many—are there teachers in the audience, yeah, they are coming up all over the place, I see it. Deaf Studies programs, also, are inclusive more. And so the mainstream world is getting more exposure. And we also have youth, you know, for example, in New York City, Douglas Ridloff, who’s a young man, a young Deaf man, who started a monthly poetry slam in New York, wow! It’s amazing to see—this positive change happening. Plus, what you’re talking about regarding Facebook—really, before, it used to be that you had to practice and get yourself so clean and perfect before you sign in front of a camera. But now, kids are just like, hey, let me have a beer, and I’ll sign some poetry, and you know, just send it out to the world. So, it’s really, you know, a whole different feel. It’s more raw, ultimately. You know, each has its pros and cons. But, you know, it’s not so private anymore. It’s really out there, out there for everyone to see.

Paul: Yeah, I think we can see—it’s interesting to think about the opening of that door with interpreters there, but in the future, are we going to need interpreters?

Richard: I don’t know. I don’t think so! I don’t think interpreters are entirely relevant, to be honest, I think, you know? I take an English book and I might show it to an interpreter, and they might sign it to me? I wouldn’t do that! Conversely, I don’t think we definitely need interpreters to interpret our poetry, to be honest.

Paul: It’s so organic, you know, it’s out there, maybe do that?  No, just teach it.

Debbie: Well, I mean, you know, we want it spoken, we want the awareness spread to hearing world as well, I think, for them to have, to see that the Deaf community has intelligence, has, you know, that it’s an equal language to the English language and those kinds of things—I think that that’s one positive aspect of having it disseminated to the hearing world as well. You know, as far as—

Donna: Yeah, but what about other things about interpreting sign language poetry? For example, I used to write poetry in English, and then when I started to sign, I started to create my poetry in sign. And when I’m signing one of my poems, then I have to think about how I might write that. And then there are some aspects—really rich aspects—about sign poetry that I think words just don’t capture. I think it’s just really hard—and I really sweat about trying to find the right word to capture what I’m doing performatively. That’s really, really difficult. And this is me, writing about my own poetry! So how can you expect someone else to come along, an interpreter, and you sign your poems to them, and then, kind of get it right? You know, I know that you work very closely, with Kenny on the Flying Words Project, and I think, probably, that’s the only way you can do it: by having a very deep, long-term relationship with a particular interpreter; I can see how that—

Debbie: That’s why it’s very important to have the right person and the right rapport when doing your work together, I agree.

Peter: Yes, Kenny and I—it’s not like I make all the poetry myself, and I say, ‘come on, Kenny, do it now!’ But we are actually a meeting of minds. We—you know—we begin with an idea, from scratch, and, you know, he lives in Chicago and I live in Rochester; we’re quite a distance apart. But, you know, he’ll be, like, bothering me, and I’ll be like, ‘what, what, what?’ And he’ll say, ‘let’s have a story!’ And this is why I moved to Chicago, right? Anyway, the point is, that it’s a real meeting of minds. Well, and we have video, we have Skype, we have all that now, but shh! No! Anyway, it’s a meeting of minds as we create our work together. Sometimes, you know, he becomes more like a director, like, ‎‎‘you know, try it a little slower,’ or, ‘change the order of that,’—it’s really a collaborative process. It’s a shared, collaborative process, and then that becomes the finished product. And then, we figure out how to voice it, after we’ve done all that. It’s not like we go line by line with the voice, we look for what the hearing person is going to see, catch visually, and add auditory for that. If I was to sign the poetry, and somebody’s never seen my work, you know, then they wouldn’t—it’d be almost impossible to have an interpreter just show up who didn’t understand he beauty in it, you know, just—I mean, the spoken language could be pretty, but it wouldn’t match, it wouldn’t mesh. So, like a meeting of minds, we have to have, you know, sometimes, if I sign this wrong thing, then he’ll cover. The English will go on. Or if he makes a mistake, the audience will know, you know, it wasn’t me! Yeah, I’ll blame him.

Debbie: You were saying—you were talking about written poetry, and, you know, I sign my poetry first, always, and then I write out what the English might be—I actually just give little titbits, you know, of the English concept. And then, for the voicing, I’m hoping that for hearing people, it’s not long, long, sentences for it; it’s that they‎’ll hear these titbits and see the visual at the same time; that’s how I approach things. It’s just not an easy process, but it’s something to work at.

Paul: Wow, I’m sure that—it’s really interesting as we’re talking about this. It’s really inspirational; I’m getting goose-bumps as we’re talking.

Peter: It’s like, you know, making a tincture—distilling it down to the gem , the essence.

John: And I’m liking the audience is sharing the love in this—are you feeling that, too?

Richard: I’ll ask you a question, then: we were thinking of looking into the future—and we talked about the present—but looking into the future, do you think there’ll be another contraction of interest and activity in sign poetry, or an expansion, or—as I say, I work in a school, teaching. But I also go around to other schools. I mean, all of us poets have day jobs. We go around and we do other things, and we do poetry. There’s a particular project in London called ‘Life and Deaf’, and it’s a project for people who have difficulties with identity, because of medical intervention, cochlear implantation, so on. And we use poetry kind of therapeutically to help people look at themselves, look at their identities, and explore who they are. So I think that that’s one way that we’ve ensured that sign poetry has a future, because it’s a real kind of core activity for these people. So, I think, you know, we’re beginning to have these kind of pathways from, you know, Dorothy Miles, to me, to some teenager from the project, and onwards into the future.

Peter: Again, I see similarities. With the youth, it’s being carried on. And, in addition, all I have to say is that it’s really interesting, you know, with the technological world, and with the Internet, with DVDs, there’s a lot more poetry happening through those media. For example, Deaf Jam, you know, which is high school kids in New York, doing competition and then videoing themselves, you know, and showing, really just like throwing back and forth, throwing this poetry at each other. And then disseminating that—people watch that and think, you know, ‘wow, I’m going to do that.’ You know, that’s really happening. I’ve worked with kids—you know, you’ll see them, and they say, you know, they’re like their idols, you know—through all this media, television, all this media, it’s so easy for kids to get access when they say they want to do it. But then, that makes me miss this kind of thin, you know, where are the young people here, getting together live and in person? Where are the young people—where are they? So, you know, I feel like we need not to—you know, to get them off the technology sometimes, and you know, I wish sometimes we could just, you know, say, ‘sign off, and let’s get together!’ You know, build a fire here. You know, but that’s life, you know. Meaning, TV and all of that, those are part of our future, and you know, I look forward to seeing what happens.

John: You can see that television and movies form part of a broad spectrum of art. I know that one of the interpreters who’s working here today, Kyra, she’s a hearing artist, she’s talking with hearing artists, and bringing them visual artists together, be they those who use paint as a medium, or poetry as a medium, and sign language poetry as a medium, and allowing that exploration as faces, and that kind of discourse to develop, so that people can talk. So I think we can see that we can see that it’s the audience itself is becoming ever greater.

Peter: Right, exactly! I see so much art—for example, dance—dance with sign combinations—all these different multimedia approaches, yes, exactly.

Donna: When you talk about the Internet, yeah, I agree. I mean, I think it’s great to have live audiences, but I think—don’t dis the Internet, it’s really, really important. There are a lot of Deaf people out there who are now mainstreamed in education, and for them, this is a really important way in to the Deaf community, to sign poetry. I think the Internet is really the key to accessing all this stuff that—you know, they might not know about Deaf clubs, they might not know how to get there, they might not want to go there—so this is a really great persuasive tool that we can use to encourage people into this activity, and that’s how I think we’re going to attract the young audience.

Debbie: I’d have to say at a University, they have website information about poetry, describing all the different possibilities. You know, there’s great information that can be found and disseminated in that way, both English and sign language. So I think it’s really important for young people to go through—to have those resources available for them.

Paul: Yeah, I think this has been a great opportunity for us to our history and our experiences, and share them with our audience as well. Thank you very much, everybody, thank you!

Thank you!

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