Clayton Valli

Dr. Clayton Valli (1951-2003) is well-known for his contributions to ASL linguistics, poetry and literature in Canada and the U.S. As an American pioneer in ASL poetry and a ASL poet, he provided numerous workshops and presentation on ASL poetry and linguistics to students and staff across North America. He has authored numerous articles and books on ASL linguistics, poetry and literature.

Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, he attended Austine School for the Deaf in Vermont. He earned a B.A. in Social Psychology from the University of Neveda-Reno, 1978. He received a M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University, 1985. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics and ASL Poetics from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1993.

Valli was the first person to inspect and identify some features of ASL poetry (specifically rhyme and meter). In his doctorate disseration, Valli linked a handshape rhyme to the concept of alliteration. He described it, "Alliteration may be the repetition of the first sound of several words in a line, compared to the handshape rhyme, that is, the repetition of the handshape of several signs in a line." [Clayton, p. 113]


Valli, Clayton. Poetics of American Sign Language Poetry. Doctoral dissertation, The Union Institute Graduate School. June 1993.

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