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Clayton Valli and Peter Cook analysis session

 Digital Work
Identifier: ds_0027_vallicook_cap_01.mp4


  • Creation: 1991



Clayton Valli discusses different genres in ASL creative arts and ASL poetry expression. ASL creative arts make use of handshape repetitions, changes to reflect the deaf experience in stories (such as flashing lights), songs (audience participation, clapping, hand and palm orientation), poetry (repeated handshapes, repeated path movements and facial expression), and humor. The characteristics of ASL poetry such as rhyming and repetition patterns, classifiers, transformations, marked signs, eye behavior, and the signer's location all influence the delivery of the poem. Literary features include personification, figurative language, metaphors, symbols, irony, and frames. He shares his experiences teaching art signs to Deaf children who are enthusiastic learners. Bilingual Deaf education, the importance of early ASL exposure for Deaf children, and encouraging more interactions between younger and older Deaf students will help develop stronger identities and ASL language skills. Peter Cook shares his educational background: he attended Clarke School for the Deaf, an oral school in MA, after he became deaf. He learned sign language at NTID, where he participated in theatre productions and fell in love with ASL. He and Kenny Lerner formed The Flying Words Project as poets and perform ASL poetry all over the world. Peter performs an ASL poem, "Einstein Under the Apple Tree," then discusses the importance of playing with language for Deaf people, to increase the body of ASL literature. He demonstrates a variety of ways of playing with language in ASL. Then he discusses the creative process of Flying Words Project, how Peter and Kenny work together to create poetry.


423.82 Megabytes (mp4)


Sign Languages


General Note

This material was digitized as part of a CLIR Hidden Collections grant: "Sculptures in the Air: An Accessible Online Video Repository of the American Sign Language (ASL) Poetry and Literature Collections at the RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive (RIT/NTID DSA) in Rochester, NY." Original VHS recordings were transferred to mp4 format, captioned, and voiced, by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf Production Services department.

Processing Information

Dr. Karen Christie, Professor Emerita of NTID, provided accurate sign language transcriptions of this video; voicing from ASL into English was provided by Miriam Lerner, performing arts interpreter. Dr. Christie also prepared the description, abstract, and notes.


Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA