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Poetry, Signed: Themes of

  • By: Karen Christie
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

While the poetics of signed languages is still very much in the formative stages, many of the early studies concerned the poetry of American Sign Language (ASL). These studies focused on signed poetry performance and on describing poetic form and linguistic features. The themes of signed poetry, however, provide us with a glimpse of the poets’ worldview, as their work addresse both universal human experiences and experiences unique to the lives of Deaf people. As with poetic works created in the oral and written forms of languages, the poems in signed languages studied to date have explored a variety of themes. Signed poets who create works not obviously about being Deaf or the Deaf experience—such as poems about death, love, or nature—still do so using ...

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