Friday, April 27, 2012

American Sign Language and Poetry

© sms:foto duisburg/rhein 2012

Dori Vaughn works in a school as an interpreter/assistant for children who cannot hear. She even, in her lunch break, thought hearing children to sign, so that the deaf children would be less isolated. When I asked her whether she could sign some of my poems, she hesitated a moment and said yes. Signing is interpreting. American Sign Language (ASL) is not “English”. So she practiced while I spoke the text and she looked for the best rendering of the image or the concept. She also practice ‘off the page’. Working from a written text is a job not many interpreters like to do, and poetic language of course is an extra challenge. She also discussed the content of the poem, what I had meant, how it came about. I however wanted to know how she read the poems, because a poem once written, is read and interpreted by the reader and might carry a different weight or connotation. Dori does a great job and adds to the beauty of the event of April 30, 2012: desert poetry night.

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