indigo eli

‘learning Auslan’ & World Poetry Day

Today, I woke up … still dreaming, still signing.
My dream, full-Auslan, continued as my body woke. 

What better prompt than that to share this poem, written 2 years ago for SBS’s National Languages Competition. The competition, for students studying a language, asks them to share how it positively impacts their lives.

2019 was also the United Nations International Year of Indigenous languages – Auslan being a language indigenous to Australia, I wanted to celebrate and honour that. The poems needed to be written, and Auslan is 3-dimensional, so I played with using a basic form of GLOSS notation in the written poem as I thought about how I might express it in sign. It’s not a transcript, more a play between the written word and the signs I saw in my head.

There are so many ways learning Auslan, about Deaf culture, and meeting d/Deaf people positively impacts my life. This is just a small taste … a ‘thank you for sharing your language with me’ kinda poem.

Happy World Poetry Day! … and Happy Birthday to the hearing and Deaf poets I know who celebrate their birthday today. Rock On Wordsmiths!

 

learning Auslan

Beyond sound there is a place of honour
where the hearing may learn to speak

 

VOICE-OFF, I SCULPT SENTENCES in SPACE

HANDS, CAPITAL LETTERS

BECAUSE the DEAF AREN’T SILENT

 

I hold WORDS in MY PALMS

to PLAY, RECEIVE, DISCUSS

 

TRY to UN-PUZZLE YOU

LIKE an OYSTER,

a POEM,

IMAGE-RICH STANZAS

that a whole BODY LANGUAGES,

a PEARL BEYOND the SOUND BARRIER

 

YOU are WRITTEN, YET UNWRITTEN,

HISTORICAL, DEEP,

NOT to be GLOSSED OVER

 

I AM KNOCKING on the EDGE of a WORLD

where WORDS are PAINTED IN-AIR by SKIN

 

HONOURED to HEAR YOUR STORY, to be WELCOMED IN

 


Thanks to all the Auslan teachers I’ve had over the years. Your patience and generosity is remarkable.

For those keen on much better poetry … last year I collected some Deaf Poetry treasures. List below…


background:

World Poetry Day 2020 rolled around as the world started shutting its borders. Arts and cultural events cancelled one after the other like dominos. People started to curl into their homes and count rolls of toilet paper.

How to kick the mood and celebrate … in isolation?
The hashtag #SharePoetry set the scene.
Conscious that Deaf arts and cultural events were being cancelled along with the others, I wanted to celebrate sign language and work by d/Deaf voices.

I thought: I will dive into the internet and get to know some more d/Deaf talent.
Then I thought: Why not share the treasures I find.

And so, a 🤗DEAF POETRY SHARING PARTY!!! 🤗 began.

I made a quick video announcement then started searching and sharing.

Here’s to celebrating the richness of poetry and Deaf language and culture, to connecting, celebrating, and watching with you, from your own little part of the world.

Some of the poems I found and shared:

It is just a taster, a tiny selection of the incredible work by d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing artists the world over. 

Click on the links and the poems will appear …

Raymond Antrobus – UK
so much good stuff… e.g. Dear Hearing World

Christine Marshall – USA
with Deaf Heart in ASL

Ian Sanborn – USA
Caterpillar is very popular, so here’s something different Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom

Kate Frost – Australia
Free Woman
 
Clayton Valli’s Dandelions
 
Gary Quinn – UK
The stars are the map I unfurl – a poem about Gerry Hughes the first deaf round-the-world solo yachtsman.
Three languages here … BSL, Shetlandic and English
 
Calista Ogburn
Hands (spoken with auto-captions)
 
Douglas Ridloff on the The Deaf Poets Society and his work encouraging and playing with language, signs and poetry … and about reaching out to the international Deaf community, and the hearing community
includes several poems, one with brass instruments (playing with the felt sense of sound)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LZGYwDO-QE
Douglas Ridloff runs the ASL poetry slam at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City … check it out
 
Rives – USA (note: Rives is hearing, but this piece is inspired by working with Deaf poets and is captioned)
Sign Language

Nice collection of pieces here from Deaf-Info.
‘Thoughts of a Deaf Child’ by Stephen J. Bellitz got me good!

collection of pieces translated into ASL
… works by Neil Gaiman, Poe, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll

 

*DANCE BREAK*

Artists and Deaf storytellers working together.
This is arts funding at work.

Where can you find more work by d/Deaf poets? And submit your own poems?
The Deaf Poets Society is one such place

Rounding it all up with …

Jessica White‘s poem Signs
and her intoxicating essay ‘Can I Do My Words?’: On the Poetics of Deafness in Cordite. So much in one piece!

 

Thanks for playing #DeafPoetryParty 

Happy #WorldPoetryDay

x

 


image: artwork ‘Nothing To See Hear’ by Williams, Eli, Moseby, Willanski, photographed by Shamphat Photography
© Indigo Eli. Terms of Use.

This entry was published on March 21, 2021 at 10:46 am. It’s filed under page, Uncategorized, words and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “‘learning Auslan’ & World Poetry Day

  1. magicpoet01 on said:

    FANTASTIC WORK. I have reposted individual poems from your list (acknowledging your labour) on my FB & Twittered some too
    Thank you so very much!

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