Themes in Sign Poetry

  • Rachel Sutton-Spence


A major contribution of sign poetry to the empowerment of the Deaf community is the way that the poems can portray the day-to-day experience of Deaf people. Some poems are explicitly on subjects that are relevant to Deaf people, being directly related to the Deaf experience, especially the celebration of sign language and the visual world and the relationships between Deaf and hearing people, but at other times ‘Deafness’ is woven deep into the fabric of the poem. Other themes, of course, such as nature, love, and life and death, are properly explored in sign language poetry, but as the poems are composed with the perspective of a Deaf poet, even these apparently general themes are used to create ‘Deaf’ images. In order to explore the themes of Deaf poems in more detail, we will again focus on Dorothy Miles’ work, but a study of the compositions of any sign poet will show how the themes of sign language poetry reflect the poet’s identity as a Deaf person.


Sign Language Deaf People Deaf Community English Grammar Morphing Sign 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Rachel Sutton-Spence 2005

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  • Rachel Sutton-Spence

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