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Debbie Rennie Jazzberries performance and presentation

 Digital Work
Identifier: ds_0027_renniejazzberries_cap_01.mp4


  • Creation: 1987



This video consists of two parts, a performance given on September 24, 1987 at Jazzberries and a presentation titled "Poetry and the Community," given at the National Deaf Poetry Conference on September 25, 1987. The evening performance consists of the following poems: Black Hole: Colors ASL, Nature Metaphor, MIND POP-UP THAT (or So That's What That Was All About), The Void, I Raped Chocolate Last Night, LIFE FAST (or The Fast Pace of Life), Sunrise, Frog, Alien, Veal Boycott/Boycott Veal, Peace, and Willie. In this presentation, Debbie Rennie traces how she became a poet including her experiences in theatre. She explains a number of techniques she uses in poetry such as: descriptive and outline use of fingerspelling, playing with limited handshapes, rhythm, frozen images, transformations, choreography, speed, facial expression as well as other elements. In addition, she describes important aspects of storytelling which she identifies as character development, story line, building of expectation, and audience involvement. During this presentation, she performs Swan, Missing Children, a number of Haiku, a story about her roommate, and an excerpt from Kipling's Just So Stories. She ends her presentation talking about the dangers of labeling and judging the works of others as well as the importance of community support.


956.16 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