Poetry in Sign Language
Poetry is a form of literary art in language, whether it is written, spoken or signed. Poetry uses various elements and devices, such as alliteration, rhythm, simile, metaphors, and onomatopoeia.
Often poetry relies heavily on imagery and metaphors. In this sense, poetry and visual-manual (sign) language are somehow a natural complementarity. Merging them together is a magic of poesy in imagery.
"a splendid flash of concrete poetry" in ASL trace, Photospeaking
and/or Photowriting series
by Jolanta Lapiak at www.lapiak.com
ASL poetry and storytelling have been passed on "orally" from generation to generation until the advent of video technology in the 1970s. Since then, published works in ASL poetry has grown.
Dr. Clayton Valli, the American forebear of ASL poetry, embarked his research on ASL poetry in the 1980s.
Translating an ASL poem into English is often discouraged or sometimes is not possible due to some nature of complex unity of the handshape, movement, spatial location, classifier and others.
In general, no interpreting can convey a signed poem fully. Sign-language poetry can be best appreciated by its first-hand experience. Then, discussion can be followed after listening to the poem firsthand.
Rachel Sutton-Spence. Analysing Sign Language Poetry. 2008.
"This new study is a major contribution to sign language study and to literature generally, looking at the complex grammatical, phonological and morphological systems of sign language linguistic structure and their role in sign language poetry and performance. Chapters deal with repetition and rhyme, symmetry and balance, neologisms, ambiguity, themes, metaphor and allusion, poem and performance, and blending English and sign language poetry."
Clark, John Lee. "Melodies Unheard: Deaf Poets and Their Subversion of the 'Sound' Theory of Poetry" Sign Language Studies Vol. 7 No. 1 Fall 2006. Pp 4-10.
H-Dirksen L. Bauman. "Redesigning Literature: Poetics of American Sign Language Poetry". http://www.ubu.com/ethno/discourses/bauman_asl.html
Sutton-Spence, Rachel. Analysing Sign Language Poetry. 2004.
Clayton Valli. ASL Poetry: Selected works of Clayton Valli.
Ella Mae Lentz. The Treasure: Poems by Ella Mae Lentz.