Afterword: ‘Here are my Wings’ — Situating Dorothy Miles, Deaf Culture and Sign Poetry

  • Paddy Ladd


In this chapter I begin to sketch an outline of a full, formal framework within which sign poetry as a whole can be approached, and a proposal for the way we can measure Dorothy Miles’ achievement and legacy. Attempting such a ‘fullness’ is necessary because there are a significant number of dimensions involved, and because several of these extend the boundaries of what we know about poetry and art. It is also necessary because many non-Deaf people still think of Deaf people in reductionist or diminutive terms, and may therefore fail to notice those dimensions which are features of Deaf community, culture and art which inform the works. Other crucial dimensions include the unique ways in which sign poetry straddles four other artistic ‘concepts’: the folk arts of Western and non-Western societies, performed song, song poetry, and Western poetry itself. For reasons of space these will only be mentioned at relevant points in the text, rather than elaborated on here. Once all of these dimensions are understood, future readers/viewers can then address Miles’ work to evaluate the extent to which it manifests the features outlined, and how those features might be used to enhance the aesthetic appreciation of her work begun in this book.


Sign Language Deaf Child Deaf People Majority Society Deaf Community 
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© Paddy Ladd 2005

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  • Paddy Ladd

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