Poetry in the Air

h1 September 26th, 2007 by jules

I had wanted to post a book review today but didn’t quite get to it. Maybe later. And I know we at 7-Imp never committed to posting something daily, but I still want to show you something again anyway. Those people who saw it in our Sunday post, including Eisha, lurved it. So, here’s an encore (plus, maybe some readers missed it then).

It’s just too stinkin’ cool.

Here’s exactly what I wrote on Sunday. Enjoy . . .

* * * * * * *

Wanna see some poetry in the air? I’m a bit partial to ASL myself, but, man, this just rocks. It’s a Quidditch match as conveyed in American Sign Language. Really, you don’t have to know ASL to understand it {rather, you can still appreciate it, even if you’re not fluent in ASL}, as his poem is mostly comprised of what are called classifiers, or ways of showing shapes and movement in ASL (or, if you’re a nerd: classifiers move through the signing space to iconically represent the actions of their referents). And this is hard to explain, but each sign begins with a letter of the alphabet, and he goes from A to Z (it’s a particular kind of ASL poem, and it’s especially clever how his last one is “Z” for Harry’s scar). This poem is short. And awesome. And, hey, you don’t have to turn up the volume. At first, the man is signing “An ASL Poem: Harry Potter and Quidditch.” That’s all you need to know. Then, just watch him go. (Thanks to my fellow interpreter friend, Judith, for the link!) . . .

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6 comments to “Poetry in the Air”

  1. BEYOND COOL.
    I have always wanted to learn ASL — just because you can move and dance while you talk — but I’d never even thought of poetry!!! And I totally flashed on the whole Quididitch match!


  2. Well, I loved it before, and felt like I was living that Quidditch match from the first time I watched it, but this time I was also watching for each letter from A to Z. So cool.

    And you know what else I love? The interpreter’s smile at the end. Do you know if he’s the poet too or is he performing another poet’s work?


  3. I have no way of knowing this with 100% certainty, but I think he’s probably deaf himself and not an interpreter (unless he’s what are called CDIs or “certified deaf interpreters” who work with hearing sign languge interpreters on assignments — hard to explain, but I digress anyway). To be sure, there is no label here, no I-am-a-deaf-man certainty, but it’s just a sixth sense you get after working with deaf people a long time. He’s doing what are called the necesary non-manual markers with his signs, which interpreters do as well, but…. well, he’s also just making the types of sound with his voice that deaf people do sometimes when they sign.

    I have no idea if he composed the poem, but I assumed he did. You will all the time see deaf people sharing their ASL poems online in such videos, especially those clever A-B-C ones.

    The blurb under the video at YouTube just says this: “This is a ASL Poem ‘Harry Potter & Quidditch’ done in ABC Story fashion of using sequential handshapes of the alphabet to describe story of Harry Potter’s surprise victory in Quidditch.” No mention of who wrote it, but I bet he did.

    Here’s a very short one entitled “Medusa,” in which the handshapes of each sign spell out the title of the poem:

    And here’s the Quidditch poet with a poem that uses the 0 to 5 (and then back down with 5 to 0) handshapes for a poem about a homeless man. (He does another intro before he gets to the poem, but longer than the Quidditch intro…Sara, I’ll translate it one day for you! In fact, this poem is harder to understand if you don’t know ASL, though the Quidditch one was like re-living a match, right? But I still thought you might wanna see an ASL number poem):

    (love the hairy guy in the background, getting a snack from the fridge)….

    Okay, the ASL Lit lesson is over!


  4. I thought this was probably his own poem because he performed it with such passion, but having never seen one, I wasn’t sure if it was more like a slam, where you tend to do your own work, or like theater, where you often perform another writer’s work. So interesting.

    And I’ll take an ASL Lit lesson anytime. I wish I could have rounded this up for Poetry Friday last week!


  5. Aw man, that would’ve been a GREAT Poetry Friday entry.


  6. [...] to Bookninja for the link. Seven Impossible Things posted this one a little while ago on their site. Here’s how they described it: It’s a [...]


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