February 25th, 2012, 12:46 am · Post a Comment · posted by dpope
ASL Poetry is an animated three-dimensional type of art form where the body’s actions deliver the gist of the message—no paper, no text. Rhymes are measured in hand shapes and meter in actions. Images cut and soften as its verses surpass all spoken word. In relation to literary poetry, the similarity of hand-shapes can act as alliteration, and using the same hand-shape repeatedly works as rhyme. Visual Vernacular involves movielike concepts. The system involves references to close-ups, wide shots, images dissolving into other images as well as “cutting” back and forth between characters to show different points of view on a scene. It is simply beautiful!!!
I find it interesting that American Sign Language (ASL) is not a signed version of English, rather, it is a derivative of French sign language, and there is a different sign language for each spoken language.
There are 5 components to a sign:
1. Hand shape
2. Palm Positioning
5. Non manual features or signals (which includes motions of the eyebrows, mouth, or the whole head.)
A very informative website can be found here:
Deaf Jam even has a social media presence on Facebook:
If you would like to read more about American Sign Language Literature, I highly recommend the book titled: Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature by Bauman, Rose, and Nelson.
“This unique collection of essays, accompanied by a pioneering DVD, at last brings a dazzling view of the literary, social, and performative aspects of American Sign Language to a wide audience. The book presents the work of a renowned and diverse group of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing scholars who examine original ASL poetry, narrative, and drama. The DVD showcases the poems and narratives under discussion in their original form, providing access to them for hearing non-signers for the first time. Together, the book and DVD provide new insight into the history, culture, and creative achievements of the deaf community while expanding the scope of the visual and performing arts, literary criticism, and comparative literature.” Amazon.com
One of my personal favorite videos of ALS poetry is found here:
It is performed by a deaf poet (darkxshadow21- YouTube name) and is titled “Beautiful Night”. I know you will enjoy his beautiful words.
For the Words in Signs,