NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ826237
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-0302-1475
The Power of Deaf Poetry: The Exhibition of Literacy and the Nineteenth-Century Sign Language Debates
Esmail, Jennifer
Sign Language Studies, v8 n4 p348-368 Sum 2008
This article argues that poetry written by nineteenth-century British and American deaf poets played an important role in the period's sign language debates. By placing the publication of this poetry in the context of public exhibitions of deaf students, I suggest that the poetry was mobilized to publicly defend the linguistic and intellectual capacities of signers and the right of deaf people to sign. These signing poets valued signed languages and offered a counternarrative to the oralists' construction of signers as intellectually and linguistically restricted because of the properties of signed languages. Furthermore, because writing poetry in English required both English fluency and the use of abstraction in language, the genre was a suitable battleground for refuting oralists' claims about the limitations of signed languages and their users. (Contains 6 notes.)
Gallaudet University Press. 800 Florida Avenue NE, Denison House, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Tel: 202-651-5488; Fax: 202-651-5489; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A