An International Festival of Sign Language Poetry from the United Kindom and the United States
On March 16th – 18th 2012, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA, celebrates sign language poetry. Sign language poets from Britain and America will come together and explore this rich and beautiful art form with members of College, the Deaf Community and visitors from the wider community. The festival will include:
- Friday March 16th, 7pm – 8.30pm a public conversation between the British and American sign language poets, discussing national, cultural, linguistic and personal differences in their work
- Saturday March 17th, 11am-4pm a workshop for the deaf community to compose signed poetry with all of the poets
- Saturday March 17th, 2pm-4pm a new workshop with Kenny Lerner (The Flying Words Project) on his work with Peter Cook (in spoken English)
- Saturday March 17th, 7pm – 9pm the headline event - an open performance by some of the top sign language poets in the USA and UK – The Flying Words Project – (Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner), Debbie Rennie, Richard Carter, Paul Scott, Donna Williams and John Wilson
- Sunday, March 18th, 10 am-12pm a Panel discussion of how signed poetry works, exploring the language and themes used in BSL and ASL poetry, again with all the poets.
Signing Hands Across the Water will give College members and visitors to College a unique opportunity to discover sign language poetry in the United States and in the British deaf community where traditions, language and culture are different.
The event is organised as part of the work of Rachel Sutton-Spence, Cornell Visiting Professor to Swarthmore for 2011-2012. Professor Sutton-Spence has worked on creative sign language for over 15 years, especially researching and promoting British Sign Language poetry.
The Festival is made possible by the William J Cooper Foundation at Swarthmore College.