Sign Language Poetry and Deaf Identity

RL Sutton-Spence, R Muller de Quadros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In this paper, we consider the role of sign language poetry in creating and expressing the Deaf poets identity as visual person in a community, living within a wider national community. We show how two Deaf poets from different linguistic, national and cultural backgrounds nevertheless have both created similar effects through their sign language poems, drawing on the folkloric knowledge of their Deaf communities and wider national folklore. Analysis of the language and themes in the poems reveals that sign language components including neologism and use of symmetry can be manipulated directly to celebrate the visual experience of Deaf people. The poetic language can be seen as a way to empower poets and their audiences to understand their place better within the world Deaf community and their own national communities.
Translated title of the contributionSign Language Poetry and Deaf Identity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177 - 212
JournalJournal of Sign Language and Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Benjamins

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