The Hang Glider

  • Rachel Sutton-Spence


The Hang Glider (p. 242) is a ‘blended’ poem, composed in 1975, and designed to work in both English and ASL. As such, it is particularly characteristic of Dorothy Miles’ early work and is also an especially striking example of the power of blended poetry. In 1975, she left the National Theatre of the Deaf in New England and drove across the USA to California, where she was appointed to help set up a full programme in Sign Language and Deaf Theatre at the drama department of the California State University, Northridge. While she was there, she also met Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima who were involved at that time in pioneering sign language research at the Salk Institute at La Jolla. They were especially interested in her poetry and invited her to perform some of her ASL poems for linguistic analysis. Their published results of this analysis were the first serious linguistic attempts at analysis of sign language poetry. For Dorothy, the experience was a huge boost to her confidence as she saw that people believed that her sign poetry was worthy of serious academic study.


Facial Expression Dominant Hand Signing Space National Theatre English Poem 
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© Rachel Sutton-Spence 2005

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  • Rachel Sutton-Spence

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