Detail View: RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive: Performance and analysis

Filename: 
ds_0027_valli_cap_01.mp4
Identifier: 
ds_0027_valli_cap_01.mp4
Title: 
Performance and analysis
Creator: 
Valli, Clayton
Subject: 
American Sign Language literature
Subject: 
Deaf, Writings of the, American
Subject: 
American Sign Language
Subject: 
Deaf Poetry
Subject: 
American poetry 20th century
Subject: 
ASL poetry
Summary: 
Clayton Valli (NTID alumnus) and famed ASL poet created original ASL poetry works. He wrote a groundbreaking dissertation on the linguistic and literary features of ASL poetry in 1993. Valli performs seven poems twice, once before discussion of the poems with the audience, and once after the discussion. The poems are not voiced, but the discussions are. The poems are: Dandelion, Lone Sturdy Tree, Windy Bright Morning, Snowflake, Pawns, I'm Sorry, and The Cave. He describes the inspiration for his poems, and the process of creating ASL poems. Poetical and linguistic features are described such as facial expressions, hand shapes, ASL rhymes, sign inventions (neologism), metaphors, and the poem structure. His poems focus on the Deaf experience such as oppression, oralism, the freedom of ASL expression, the loneliness and hardships of the mainstreamed individual, and other related topics. 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, classifers, 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.
Publisher: 
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Digital Publisher: 
Rochester Institute of Technology - RIT Libraries - RIT Archive Collections
Contributor: 
Miriam and Kenneth Lerner ASL Poetry Collection
Contributor: 
ASL Literature Conference (1991 National Technical Institute for the Deaf)
Date of Original: 
1991
Date of Digitization: 
2018
Broad Type: 
moving image
Digital File Format: 
mp4
Physical Format: 
VHS
Dimensions of Original: 
62 minutes
Language: 
American Sign Language
Language: 
English
Original Item Location: 
RITDSA.0027
Library Collection: 
Sculptures in the Air: An Accessible Online Video Repository of the American Sign Language (ASL) Poetry and Literature Collections
Library Collection: 
Miriam and Kenneth Lerner ASL Poetry Collection
Digital Project: 
2018-2019 CLIR Grant-ASL Poetry and Literature
Catalog Record: 
https://albert.rit.edu/record=b3954533
Catalog Record: 
https://twcarchivesspace.rit.edu/repositories/2/resources/815
Place: 
New York - Rochester
RIT Spaces and Places: 
Henrietta Campus
Rights: 
RIT Libraries makes materials from its collections available for educational and research purposes pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. It is your responsibility to obtain permission from the copyright holder to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.
Rights: 
CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Transcript: 
SEAT 7K737...FULL ESCORT. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] >> YOU! >> YEAH! OK. GOOD EVENING. MY NAME IS MATTHEW MOORE, AND I'M THE PUBLISHER OF "DEAF LIFE" MAGAZINE AND DIRECTOR OF FLYING WORDS PROJECT. I WANT TO MAKE ONE ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT. TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE, THERE'LL BE AN OPEN MIC. THERE'S NO HEADSETS FOR TONIGHT'S PERFORMANCE, BUT FOR ALL THE PERFORMANCES TO COME, WE'LL BE USING HEADSETS, OK? SO FOR PEOPLE HERE WHO ARE NEW TO OUR COMMUNITY, HAVE JUST JOINED THIS COMMUNITY, I'D LIKE TO WELCOME YOU, AND I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A SUGGESTION TO YOU, THAT YOU DON'T CLAP FOR THE DEAF PERFORMERS WHEN THEY'RE DONE. IF YOU WANT TO SHOW APPRECIATION FOR THEIR WORK, PLEASE RAISE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR AND SHAKE THEM HIGH SO THAT PEOPLE CAN SEE THEM. NOW I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON--CLAYTON VALLI. HE'S A FULL-TIME PROFESSOR AT GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY. HE WORKS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF LINGUISTICS AND INTERPRETING, AND HE'S STUDYING FOR HIS Ph.D. NOW AND DOING A CORRESPONDENCE COURSE WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF OHIO, SO I'D LIKE YOU TO ALL PLEASE HELP ME GIVE HIM A VERY WARM WELCOME. HANDS IN THE AIR. [PERSON CLAPPING] HARD TO SEE YOU. MAY WE HAVE THE LIGHTS UP A LITTLE BIT? MUCH BETTER. THANK YOU. NOW I CAN SEE ALL YOUR FACES. THE REASON I NEED TO SEE YOUR FACES IS, WHILE I'M PERFORMING, I'D LIKE TO HAVE LITTLE DISCUSSION IN BETWEEN AND AFTERWARDS, SO I DON'T LIKE TO JUST PERFORM AND THEN LEAVE YOU OUT IN THE COLD. I'D LIKE TO HAVE SOME DIALOGUE, SO IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOUR FACES. I'M REALLY THRILLED TO BE HERE TONIGHT. I REMEMBER, 1987 IN WHEN I WAS HERE, THERE WAS A DEAF--THE NATIONAL DEAF POETRY CONTEST HELD HERE IN 1987, AND THERE WERE 5 OF US--PATRICK GRAYBILL, ELLA LENTZ, MYSELF, PETER COOK, AND DEBBIE RENNIE. 5 PERFORMERS CAME TO OUR DEAF POETRY CONFERENCE. WE DID OUR PERFORMANCES, AND IT HAD A REALLY POWERFUL IMPACT ON ALL OF US. WE SHARED A LOT OF IDEAS, BUT THEN THAT IMPACT WAS GONE. WE HAD NO FURTHER CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER. WE HOPED TO HAVE ANNUAL OR BI-ANNUAL CONFERENCE, AND YET THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE'VE BEEN TOGETHER AGAIN AS POETS. NOW, THIS IS CALLED A DEAF LITERATURE CONFERENCE, WHICH IS REALLY GREAT BECAUSE IT'S MORE BROAD AND INCLUDES POETRY AND COMEDY DIFFERENT KINDS OF LITERATURE, AND I HOPE THAT THIS CONTINUES ANNUALLY FROM NOW ON. BEFORE I BEGIN WITH MY PERFORMANCE, I'D LIKE TO TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT WILL BE HAPPENING THIS EVENING. I WILL PRESENT, AND THERE WILL BE AN INTERPRETER VOICING MY PRESENTATION AS A KIND OF DISCUSSION, BUT WHEN I DO MY ACTUAL PERFORMANCES, THERE WILL BE NO INTERPRETATION. I PREFER THAT YOU WHO ARE HEARING AND DON'T KNOW SIGN LANGUAGE TO WATCH, ALTHOUGH YOU MAY BE A BIT OVERWHELMED. I'M SORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT WHAT I'M DOING IS A KIND OF ART. IT IS ART, AND ASL POETRY IS A VERY EXPRESSIVE ART, A VERY VISUAL FORM OF ART THAT I WANT YOU TO BE ABLE TO APPRECIATE VISUALLY. NOW, WHEN I PERFORM AND THE INTERPRETER DOES NOT VOICE, THAT WILL BE JUST THE PERFORMANCE PART, BUT AFTERWARDS AND IN BETWEEN MY POETRY, I'LL BE TALKING ABOUT WHAT I'M DOING AND THEN PERFORM THE PIECE AGAIN SO YOU'LL BE ABLE TO WATCH. NOW, FIRST WHEN I PERFORM THE PIECE, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WATCH AND GET SOME KIND OF IDEA BUT MAY NOT BE ABLE TO REMEMBER ALL THE DIFFERENT PIECES OF IT. AFTER I EXPLAIN IT NOW, YOU CAN GO BACK AND SEE IT AGAIN AND UNDERSTAND IT BETTER. I'LL BE PERFORMING 7 DIFFERENT POEMS FOR YOU THIS EVENING. THE FIRST POEM IS ENTITLED, "DANDELION," YOU KNOW, THE YELLOW FLOWER THAT GROWS AND WHEN YOU BLOW ON IT, THOSE LITTLE SPORES SCATTER ALL AROUND. I'D LIKE TO TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW I CREATED THE POEM "DANDELION." ONE TIME, I WAS MOWING THE GRASS IN NEVADA, AND THOSE DANDELIONS WERE ALL OVER, AND I HAD TO PULL THEM OUT, YOU KNOW, THOSE WEEDS YOU JUST HAD TO GET OUT OF YOUR GREEN GRASS, AND I KEPT SIGNING THE SIGN, "THIS IS SICK. THIS THING IS MAKING ME CRAZY," AND I THOUGHT, "THIS IS THE SAME WAY AS I AM. THIS DANDELION AND MYSELF HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON HERE," AND THE POEM EMERGED FROM THERE. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] I'D LIKE TO JUST EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT NOW ABOUT THIS POEM AND WHAT IT MEANT. THE YELLOW FLOWER, THE DANDELIONS, WERE MULTITUDES UPON THIS GREEN, GRASSY AREA, AND A MAN COMES AND SEES THE WEEDS AND IS OUTRAGED THAT THEY'RE THERE AND BEGINS TO PULL THEM OUT AND TRY TO DESTROY THEM, MOW THEM ALL DOWN. THE RAIN COMES. THE SUN EMERGES. THE GRASSES GROW, AND ONE DANDELION APPEARS AND SPREADS ITS SEEDS, AND A BEE COMES AND TAKES THE SEED AND THEN PLANTS IT, AND DAYS GO BY, AND THE DANDELION SPROUTS ITS SPORES, SO THIS IS THE MEANING THAT YOU SEE WHEN I PRESENT THE POEM, BUT THE SEEDS THAT GROW FROM THE DANDELION ARE OBTAINED FROM THE FLOWER AND ARE CARRIED AWAY AND SPREAD. A MAN ARRIVES AND SEES THESE SPREAD SEEDS AND SAYS, "HEY THERE." HE YELLS. HE YELLS, "THERE," MEANING, "THERE. THERE'S THE ONE," AND HE'S ANGRY. NOW THE SPORES HAVE SPREAD, AND HE PULLS IT OUT, BUT THOSE SEEDS AGAIN HAVE PLANTED THEMSELVES AROUND THE GRASS. NOW, YOU MAY NOTICE THAT THERE IS SOMETHING LIKE RHYME AS I PERFORM THIS POEM. NOW, DID YOU NOTICE ANYTHING LIKE A RHYME AS YOU SAW ME PERFORM, PERFORMING? MY BODY SHIFTS BACK AND FORTH. MY HANDS SHIFT BACK AND FORTH. MY HANDS THEMSELVES, WHAT ABOUT THEM? YES. I USE MY HANDS AND MOVEMENT IN AND OUT, AND I OFTEN USE HAND SHAPES INVOLVING THE OPEN, 5-FINGERED HAND. WHEN I SAY, "OH, FLOWER SPREAD OUT ACROSS THE GRASS," I USE THIS HAND SHAPE, AND WHEN THEY'RE WAVING, THEY'RE ALSO THE SAME "5" HAND SHAPE, AND "LAND" INCORPORATES THAT SAME SHAPE. I USE "5" HAND SHAPE THROUGHOUT THE POEM AGAIN AND AGAIN, WHICH IS A KIND OF A RHYME, AND ALSO WHEN I USE THE CLASSIFIER TO SIGNIFY DANDELION, YOU'LL SEE THAT AGAIN I'M DOING THE OPEN HAND SHAPE. THAT'S ONE KIND OF RHYME. ALSO YOU SEE THIS HAND SHAPE, THE CLENCHED FIST. WHAT DOES THAT SIGNIFY? YES, IT'S A CLOSED HAND, BUT WHAT KIND OF FEELING IS THERE, IN OPPOSITION TO THE OPEN FEELING OF "5" HAND SHAPE? A CLENCHED FIST, YES, IT SIGNIFIES KIND OF ANGER, WHEREAS OPEN HAND IS FREE AND LIBERATED, SO THERE'S THIS JUXTAPOSITION OF THE CLOSED AND THE OPEN, SO YOU CAN SEE THAT THERE IS A KIND OF A MEANING BEHIND THE LITERAL MEANING OF THE POEM AS YOU WATCH IT, SO YOU MAY WONDER WHAT THIS MEANING IS. HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELVES AS I WAS SPEAKING? YES. IT'S A METAPHOR--YOU'RE RIGHT--MEANING THAT MY POEM HAS A LITERAL MEANING THAT YOU CAN SEE BUT ALSO A METAPHORICAL MEANING. IT'S NOT JUST A PRETTY PICTURE IN THE AIR. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? IT'S A METAPHOR FOR FRUSTRATION, ANGER FROM MY EXPERIENCES GROWING UP IN DEAF SCHOOL, FOR HAVING MY LANGUAGE TAKEN AWAY FROM ME AND BEING FORCED TO USE THE ORAL'S. OF COURSE. YOU'RE RIGHT. [LAUGHTER] THAT'S RIGHT. THAT'S HIS--THIS GENTLEMAN'S INTERPRETATION, HAVING MY SIGNS TAKEN AWAY FROM ME, BEING FORBIDDEN TO SIGN, BEING FORCED TO USE ORAL METHOD OF COMMUNICATION. YOU'RE SAYING THAT IT'S A METAPHOR FOR THAT THE WORLD IS IMPERFECT AND THAT YOU SHOW THAT THE WORLD IS NOT ALWAYS PERFECT. RIGHT. YOU'RE SAYING THAT SEEDS--SEEDS AS A SYMBOL FOR THAT SEEDS WILL ALWAYS CONTINUE TO LIVE AND THOSE CONTINUE TO PROPAGATE, NO MATTER WHAT, AND THAT YOU CANNOT KEEP THESE HANDS CLUTCHED. THEY WILL OPEN, EVEN IF YOU DON'T PLAN IT, EVEN IF YOU DON'T INTEND TO. EVEN IF YOU TRY TO RID THE WORLD OF THEM, THEY STILL WILL CONTINUE TO SPROUT. EXACTLY. THAT'S RIGHT. SO THE SIGN "CONTINUE" IS AN APPROPRIATE ONE TO USE IN THE INSTANCE. THIS PERSON'S OPINION, IT USED TO BE THAT DEAF PEOPLE WERE ALLOWED TO USE THEIR SIGN LANGUAGE, AND THEN THE INVENTION OF ORAL-BASED, ORAL METHODS OF COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION, APPEARED AND REALLY DIMINISHED THE ABILITY FOR DEAF PEOPLE TO USE THEIR HANDS TO COMMUNICATE, BUT NOW IT'S BEGINNING TO SPREAD AGAIN THAT PEOPLE ARE FREE TO USE SIGN LANGUAGE TO COMMUNICATE. YOU'RE RIGHT. WHAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IS A METAPHOR. IT IS EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS POEM IS A METAPHOR FOR REALLY DEEPER FEELINGS, OK, SO THE POEM HAS DEEPER MEANING THAN WHAT YOU MERELY SEE WHEN YOU FIRST WATCH. NOW, REMEMBER, OPENED AT HOME AND MOWING, OR TELLING YOU ABOUT HOW I WAS MOWING THE GRASS AND HOW I REALIZED THAT THIS DANDELION AND I HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON. I WAS BEFORE PUNISHED FOR SIGNING, AND I USED THE SIGN TO EXPRESS MY FRUSTRATION AT BEING OPPRESSED IN THIS WAY, AND THEN, AGAIN, I WAS USING THAT SIGN TO TALK ABOUT HOW I WAS CAPTURING THE DANDELION. NOW, BACK IN 1980 AT THE--1880, THE MILAN CONFERENCE, THERE WAS A MILAN CONFERENCE THAT OCCURRED, AND IT'S A MILESTONE IN THE HISTORY OF DEAF PEOPLE, FOR AT THAT CONFERENCE, SIGN LANGUAGE WAS FORBIDDEN ALL AROUND THE WORLD. DEAF TEACHERS WERE FIRED. SIGN LANGUAGE WAS SHUNTED OFF FROM PROGRAMS FOR THE DEAF, BUT NOW, AGAIN, SIGN LANGUAGE IS CONTINUING--IS STARTING TO BE ON THE RISE AGAIN. WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE. YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE OFF NOW. WELL, I AGREE. I REALLY AGREE. OK. I'M GOING TO REPEAT THE POEM NOW SO YOU'LL HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] I FORGOT TO ADD ONE THING. YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT IN THIS POEM, MANY THINGS OCCUR IN 3s, MOVEMENTS OF 3s--PULLING OUT THE SEEDS IN A MOVEMENT OF 3, GROWING IN A MOVEMENT OF 3, GRASS IN A MOVEMENT OF 3. I TEND TO USE THE MOVEMENT OF 3 OVER AND OVER AGAIN AS A RHYME, AND I DELIBERATELY MANIPULATE THE POEM IN THIS WAY TO CREATE RHYME. IT WASN'T JUST AN ARBITRARY EXPRESSION OF MY FEELINGS, BUT A VERY DELIBERATE PLANNING OF HOW I WAS TO DO THIS AS AN ART FORM. THE NEXT POEM IS ENTITLED "THE LONE STURDY TREE," AND I'M SIGNING IT THIS WAY, YOU KNOW, A TREE THAT'S LIVED FOR A LONG TIME AND IS OLD AND WEATHERED. BACK IN 1978, THAT WAS ABOUT WHEN MAINSTREAMING STARTED. AM I RIGHT, EARLY SEVENTIES, '73? I DON'T KNOW. NOW, WHAT IS THAT DATE? YOU'RE SAYING 1973? OK. WELL, IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES, MAINSTREAMING BEGAN TO BECOME A WIDESPREAD METHOD OF EDUCATION, AND I WAS WORKING IN A MAINSTREAM SCHOOL FOR DEAF CHILDREN, AND I SAW THE KINDS OF FRUSTRATIONS THAT THEY WENT THROUGH, AND I BECAME VERY FRUSTRATED. I HAD MANY CLASHES WITH THE TEACHERS. NOW, I WAS AT THAT TIME COMMUTING FROM RENO TO CARSON CITY. I LIVED IN RENO, AND I WENT TO THE SCHOOL TO WORK IN CARSON CITY. IT WAS ABOUT A 50-MILE-DRIVE COMMUTE EACH WAY, AND EVERY DAY WHEN I WAS DRIVING, I SAW THIS TREE, AND IT REALLY INSPIRED ME, AND OUT OF IT CAME THIS POEM. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] LET ME SEE. HOW WOULD I DESCRIBE THIS? EVERY MORNING, YOU SEE, I'M DRIVING, AND THE DESERT IS VERY FLAT AND THEN LATER BECOMES MORE MOUNTAINOUS, WELL, ACTUALLY HILLY, AND THE MOUNTAINS ARE VERY CRAGGY WITH STONES AND ROCKS, AND ON TOP OF ONE OF THESE HILLY, DRY MOUNTAINS IS THE SILHOUETTE OF AN OLD, WEATHERED, CRAGGY TREE BENT FROM THE WIND. THE SUN BEATS DOWN ON IT, AND THERE'S NO PLACE TO HIDE. THERE'S ONLY THIS ONE LONE TREE SURVIVING. NOW, THE WIND ALWAYS BLOWS IN THIS ONE DIRECTION, AND, HENCE, THE TREE IS GOING OVER IN THAT WAY, AND YET IT CONTINUES TO STAND, AND THE WIND BRUSHES IT OFF AGAINST ITS TRUNK. THROUGH STORMS, THROUGH FREEZING COLD, THROUGH SLEET, THAT TREE REMAINS. EVEN THROUGH DROUGHT WHEN IT'S DRY, THE TREE STILL LIVED, AND AS I WATCHED THAT TREE DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY, I THOUGHT ABOUT MY OWN FRUSTRATIONS. I FELT I WAS A KINDRED SPIRIT TO THIS TREE. I'LL REPEAT THE POEM NOW. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] THANK YOU. THE NEXT POEM IS ENTITLED "WINDY BRIGHT MORNING." "WINDY BRIGHT MORNING" WAS WRITTEN HERE, OK, SO HERE AT NTID. AT THAT TIME, I WAS A STUDENT HERE BACK IN 1971, MY FIRST YEAR HERE AT NTID, AND ACTUALLY, I CONTINUED HERE AS A STUDENT IN 1972, AND THIS POEM CAME ABOUT BECAUSE AT THE TIME, I WAS LIVING IN DORM ONE ON THE RIT SIDE, AND I WAS IN BED, AND THE SHADE WAS BLOWING BACK AND FORTH IN THE WIND, AND I FELT IT WAS A VERY ODD KIND OF A MORNING. I DIDN'T LIKE THE SENSATION, BUT OUTSIDE, IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY. I NEVER FORGOT THAT AND HOW I WAS AWAKENED. THEN AT ONE POINT LATER, IT HAPPENED THAT I GOT A TERRIBLE TOOTHACHE, AND I THOUGHT I BETTER LET THE DENTIST KNOW AND HAVE IT FIXED OR PULLED OUT OF SOMETHING, IT WAS SO PAINFUL, SO I CALLED THE DENTIST AND TOLD HIM, AND HE TOLD ME, "WELL, I'M SORRY, BUT I HAVE A VERY "FULL SCHEDULE. YOU'LL HAVE TO WAIT TILL TOMORROW." I TOLD HIM, "I'M SORRY. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW. I HAVE AN EXTREME AMOUNT OF PAIN," BUT I TOLD HIM, "ALL RIGHT. I'LL DO THE BEST I CAN," AND THEN WENT TO BED TO TRY AND SLEEP, BUT THE PAIN WAS THROBBING, AND I COULDN'T FALL ASLEEP, SO I GOT UP AND STARTED TO PACE THE ROOM, AND MY PAIN DIMINISHED. SO I STARTED TO SIGN AND REALIZED THAT WAS REALLY GOING TO HELP ME GET THROUGH THE NIGHT, AND OUT OF THAT PAIN CAME THIS POEM. THIS IS A NEW POEM THAT I STARTED REALLY TO PERFORM IN 1981, EVEN THOUGH I FIRST CONCEIVED OF IT IN '72. [LAUGHTER] [PEOPLE CLAPPING] SO YOU SEE, THAT POEM WAS WRITTEN IN A KIND OF STYLE THAT MAY SEEM AWKWARD COMPARED TO THE WAY THAT I DO POETRY THESE DAYS, BUT I KEPT THIS STYLE. IT'S REMINISCENT OF MY DAYS AS A STUDENT HERE. I ACTUALLY DID VIDEOTAPE IT AT THAT TIME, AND I WATCHED THE VIDEOTAPE AND TRIED TO KEEP THE SAME STYLE IN WHICH IT WAS CONCEIVED AND PERFORM IT THAT WAY TODAY TO KEEP THE STYLES THAT WE DO ALIVE, AND YOU'LL SEE THAT MY POETRY STYLE HAS EVOLVED SINCE THEN IN LATER POEMS. "WINDY BRIGHT MORNING" IS ABOUT THIS WINDOW WHERE THE SHADE IS PULLED DOWN AND THE WIND IS BLOWING THROUGH, LETTING IN THROUGH THE CRACKS THE LIGHT OF THE MORNING, AND AS I'M SLEEPING, THAT LIGHT GETS THROUGH MY EYELIDS AS IF THE WIND AND THE SUN KNOW THAT I'M DEAF AND THAT I NEED A FLASH OF LIGHT IN ORDER TO WAKE UP. I JUST ADDED THAT, LETTING YOU KNOW THAT I FELT AS IF THE SUN AND THE WIND KNEW I WAS DEAF. SO I GET UP TO CLOSE THE WINDOW. YOU KNOW HOW RIT BUILDINGS ARE CONSTRUCTED, RIGHT? YOU HAVE TO CLOSE THE WINDOW, AS IT SWINGS OUT, PULL IT SHUT. THAT'S THE WAY ALL OF THOSE BUILDINGS ARE BUILT, SO I PULLED IT SHUT AND WENT BACK TO BED TO TRY TO SLEEP AGAIN, BUT MY BODY WAS VERY WARM. ALL OF A SUDDEN, I FELT THE WINDOW OPEN AGAIN, AND AGAIN THE SUN WAS FLASHING INTO MY BED. THE WIND HAD OPENED THE WINDOW, AND THE SUN AND THE COLD AIR WAS RUSHING IN IT, AND I WAS STARTLED, TAKEN ABACK, AND I GOT UP, AND NOW WITH THE SHADE OPEN, I FELT, "HEY, THIS IS SOMETHING I WANT TO BE AWAKE TO SEE," AND YOU KNOW HERE IN ROCHESTER, EVERY DAY THERE TENDS TO BE CLOUDS, AND, HEY, ROCHESTER IS FAMOUS, INFAMOUS, FOR ITS CLOUDY WEATHER, AND IT USED TO BE LIKE, "COME ON, SUN," BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN, THERE WAS THIS ONE MORNING WHEN THE SUN SHONE BRIGHTLY, COLD AND CLEAR, AND I'LL NEVER FORGET IT. HE'S ASKING ME HERE, "DOES THIS POEM HAVE "A HIDDEN MEANING? IS IT A METAPHOR FOR SOMETHING?" AND, NO, I THINK THIS MEANS-- THIS POEM IS REALLY MORE FOR THE ENJOYMENT, THE BEAUTY IN THE MOMENT, AND THE FEELING, THE EXPRESSION OF MY EXPERIENCE AT THAT TIME. THE NEXT POEM IS ENTITLED "SNOWFLAKE." HOW CAN I TALK ABOUT THIS? UM, LET ME SEE. A SNOWFLAKE IS A CONCEPT THAT AT ONE POINT I TOOK A REAL LIKING TO, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO ARRANGE IT IN A POEM, SO I HELD ON TO THE IDEA FOR ALMOST 3 YEARS, MULLING IT OVER IN THE BACK OF MY MIND, AND THEN ONE DAY, I MET A DEAF CHILD... AND I REALIZED NOW THAT THE SNOWFLAKE HAD FOUND ITS HOME IN A POETRY ABOUT THE CHILD. THIS IS ABOUT THE CHILD WITH HIS FATHER, WHO WAS VERY PROUD OF THE WAY THE CHILD COULD SPEAK. IT'S STRANGE. WHEN I MADE THIS MATCH BETWEEN THE SNOWFLAKE AND THE STORY OF THE CHILD, I REALLY DIDN'T KNOW WHY I PUT IT TOGETHER THAT WAY. I WROTE MY POEM, CONCEIVED OF IT, AND THEN REALIZED THAT THE HIDDEN MEANING WAS MORE THAN I HAD BEEN AWARE OF WHEN I CREATED IT. AFTER I PERFORM IT, I WILL TALK ABOUT THAT WITH YOU, OK? HAVE ANY OF YOU DISCOVERED THE METAPHOR IN THIS POEM? YOU DON'T SEE ANY? OH, GOODNESS. HE SAID HE SAW NO HIDDEN MEANING, BUT THERE REALLY IS HERE. YOU'RE SAYING IT'S ABOUT THE BOY AND HIS GRAMMAR AND THAT HE CAN'T USE ASL, BUT HE HAS TO USE ENGLISH LIKE SOMEONE USES SIGNED ENGLISH AND ENGLISH WORD ORDER, BEING FORCED TO USE THOSE WORDS, BUT FOR ME, REALLY I'M TALKING ABOUT THE BOY USING THE ORAL METHOD OF COMMUNICATION. I JUST ADDED THE SIGNS SO YOU COULD SEE WHAT HE WAS SAYING. YOU'RE SAYING THAT YOUR INTERPRETATION OF IT IS THAT SIGN LANGUAGE IS SO WONDERFUL, JUST LIKE A SNOWFLAKE IS. THAT'S AN INTERESTING INTERPRETATION. VERY GOOD. YOU'RE VERY WARM. HE'S VERY CLOSE. HE CAUGHT AN IMPORTANT PART, THAT AT THE END, SNOWFLAKE IS DISSOLVED. YOU NOTICE MY FACE. I DO THAT. I HAVE A LITTLE SMILE ON MY FACE, VERY SLIGHT. YOU'RE VERY CLOSE. YOUR INTERPRETATION IS VERY CLOSE. YOU ARE SAYING HERE THAT IT'S A FEELING THAT THE SNOWFLAKE MELTING IS ABOUT THE FEELINGS THAT ARE HIDDEN INSIDE OF YOU, THAT A PERSON HAS TO FAKE IT IN ORDER TO MAKE IT IN THIS HEARING WORLD. YOU'RE SAYING IT'S ABOUT A SNOWFLAKE GROWING AND THAT LATER, IT WILL BE ABLE TO SPREAD INTO THE EARTH AND RISE AGAIN. HMM, THAT'S INTERESTING. YOU'RE SAYING HERE THAT THE MEANING IS THAT ONE'S EXPRESSION IN SOME CASES MUST BE BLANK AND HIDE ONE'S ANGER, NOT BEING ABLE TO EXPRESS YOUR TRUE FEELINGS. YOU'RE ALL VERY CLOSE HERE. YOU'RE SAYING THAT YOU COULDN'T REALLY FOLLOW ALL OF IT, BUT AT THE VERY END, YOU CAUGHT THE IDEA OF A SNOWFLAKE IS OBLITERATED INTO THE GROUND, MEANING THAT OPPRESSION IS CONTINUING AND THE SMILE IS JUST A COVER-UP FOR THE HARD FEELINGS OF THAT IMPRESSIONABLE-- YOU'RE SAYING THAT THE MEANING IS THAT THE LITTLE GIRL OR LITTLE BOY, WHATEVER--RIGHT; I DIDN'T SPECIFY THE GENDER; YOU'RE RIGHT--THAT THE MEANING IS ABOUT THAT THE COMMUNICATION HERE IS SIMPLY SUPERFICIAL. THERE'S NO DEPTH TO IT. RIGHT. VERY GOOD. OK. YES? YOU'RE SAYING, THE POEM HERE IS ABOUT THE FEELINGS OF BITTERNESS AND DISAPPOINTMENT THAT ONE FEELS WHEN A SNOWFLAKE IS DISSOLVED IN THE EARTH. THERE'S A KIND OF A BITTER FEELING. HMM. I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT. THIS POEM IS VERY IRONIC. THE SNOWFLAKE ENDS, AND MY EXPRESSION IS MILD, BUT THAT MILD EXPRESSION REALLY IS IRONIC. THE SNOWFLAKE-- YOU KNOW THAT NO TWO SNOWFLAKES ARE ALIKE. EACH SNOWFLAKE HAS ITS OWN UNIQUE DESIGN. EACH SNOWFLAKE IS AN INDIVIDUAL. EVERY SNOWFLAKE IS ITS OWN ENTITY, AND WHAT COULD THAT EQUATE TO? WHAT COULD THAT CONCEPT EQUATE TO? THE SNOWFLAKE IS LIKE... EACH DIFFERENT PERSON IN THE WORLD, WHO IS ALSO UNIQUE. RIGHT. IT IS POETIC. A SNOWFLAKE IS A METAPHOR FOR INDIVIDUALS. RIGHT. THE SNOWFLAKE-- WELL, FIRST, YOU SEE, WE HAVE THE SUN. THE SUN NOW IS REPRESENTATIVE OF WARMTH AND ENERGY, HEAT, AND ALSO AUTHORITY. WHO'S IN AUTHORITY? THE FATHER, RIGHT, THE FATHER, WHO'S GROWN AND AN AUTHORITY WHO HAS THE POWER AND THE HEAT OF HIM RADIATING DOWN. NOW, THE SNOWFLAKE, THEN, IS A METAPHOR FOR THE CHILD, AND WHEN HE LANDS INTO THE HEAT OF THE FATHER, WHAT HAPPENS? HE MELTS, RIGHT, AND THIS IS A SYMBOL OF HOW HE LOSES IDENTITY. HE IS DISSOLVED IN THE HEAT OF HIS FATHER'S POWER. NOW, IT LOOKS VERY BEAUTIFUL, YOU SEE. MY EXPRESSION IS THAT IT'S ALL VERY LOVELY, BUT IRONICALLY, IT'S VERY SAD. SO I'LL DO THIS POEM FOR YOU AGAIN SO YOU CAN SEE IT AGAIN. WHAT ELSE DID I WANT TO MENTION? OH, OH. DID YOU NOTICE SOMETHING? YOU WERE SAYING THAT-- WHEN YOU SAID THAT ABOUT A DEAF CHILD, IT REALLY STRUCK ME. HOW'D YOU KNOW THAT THE CHILD WAS DEAF? HOW DID ALL OF YOU KNOW THAT? BECAUSE OF THE WAY THEY WERE TRYING TO READ LIPS AND THE WAY THAT THEY SPOKE AND THE WAY THEY SAID, "MY NAME IS..." THAT'S RIGHT. OK. I SEE WHERE YOU CAUGHT THAT NOW. YOU'RE SAYING THE FATHER HAS BEEN SAYING, "IS," SAYING-- YEAH. OH, THAT'S GOOD. HE'S SAYING THAT ONE. HE'S SAYING THAT, "I AM 5 YEARS," AND EMPHASIZING THE "S," "OLD," AND THE "S"...THE SUN, MEANING THAT IN SOME WAYS-- WHY--DID YOU NOTICE HOW I-- [NO AUDIO] THE NEXT POEM I WILL ATTEMPT FOR YOU IS ENTITLED "PAWNS," "PAWNS." DO YOU KNOW THAT THOSE PIECES ON A CHESS BOARD--THE SMALL, LITTLE ONE--IS CALLED PAWNS, AND MY VISION OF THEM IS THAT PAWNS ARE SMALL AND DELICATE. PAWNS ARE REPRESENTING TWO OF MY FRIENDS WHO WERE DYING OF AIDS. ONE IS NAMED JOHN SMITH, AND THE OTHER IS STAN EDWARDS. BOTH ARE GONE, AND I DEDICATE THIS POEM FOR BOTH THE TWO OF THEM. [LAUGHTER] [PEOPLE CLAP] DOES ANYONE WANT TO TAKE A GUESS AT WHAT THE HIDDEN MEANINGS ARE IN THIS POEM? IT'S ABOUT AIDS. YOU'RE RIGHT. WHAT ELSE? THE VERY END IS VERY IMPORTANT IN THIS POEM. OK. ONE AT A TIME. WHAT WERE YOU SAYING? I CAN'T WATCH TOO MANY PEOPLE AT ONE TIME HERE. YOU'RE SAYING THAT THE GOVERNMENT WON'T HELP ANYONE WITH AIDS, BUT THE QUILT IS AN HONOR TO THEM. CORRECT, BUT THE ENDING OF THE POEM IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. YOU'RE SAYING THAT THERE ARE NO SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE AIDS, BUT THEY'RE NEGLECTED, AND THEY END UP DYING, BUT WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE FLAG THAT GOT TURNED UP AT THE END? DOES THAT MEAN THAT THERE'S PEACE AT THE END, THAT FREEDOM PREVAILS? YOU'RE SAYING THAT THE FLAG, WHEN IT OVERTURNED, THERE'S NO IDENTITY LEFT WHEN THE PEOPLE ARE LEFT ON THE GROUND LIKE THAT. YOU'RE SAYING, WELL, THERE'S NO REMEMBRANCE IN HONOR OF THE DEAD PEOPLE, RIGHT, BUT NOTICE... WHAT'S THIS? WHAT'S THIS? A FLAG. RIGHT. RIGHT, USA, BUT WHO? WHO IS THE-- WHO IS THIS? DO YOU NOTICE, DEAF PEOPLE TEND... TO SIGN THIS WAY. THE FLAG IS LIKE THIS WITH STARS AND STRIPES, BUT DEAF PEOPLE TEND TO SAY, "STARS AND FIN," SIGN IT IN THIS WAY. I'VE SEEN THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN. TOURING DIFFERENT PLACES AND PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, I SEE ALL OVER THAT PEOPLE SIGN IT THIS WAY, AND I'VE TAKEN THAT VERBATIM FROM THE DEAF COMMUNITY, THE STARS SPREADING OUT AHEAD AND THE STRIPES GOING ACROSS. NOW WHEN I TAKE THE FLAGS AND LAY THEM UP LIKE THIS, WHAT DOES THAT SIGNIFY? HOW DOES THAT CONNECT WITH THE DEAF COMMUNITY, THAT IT'S DYING? RIGHT, BUT THERE'S TWO FLAGS HERE. YOU'RE CLOSE. YOU'RE CLOSE. IT SHOWS THAT DEAF AMERICANS NEED SUPPORT, BUT THEY'RE STILL DYING. THAT'S CLOSE, DEAF AMERICAN SUPPORT. "I GAVE YOU SUPPORT TODAY, AND THERE'S STILL THERE'S MORE." YOU'RE SAYING AT THE END THAT THERE'S AN EXPRESSION OF, "OH, WELL." I'M WONDERING THAT WHEN HANDS TURN FACE UP, IT MIGHT MEAN THAT THE FLAG IS THERE FACE UP, BUT THE PEOPLE STILL SURVIVE BEYOND THE STARS AND STRIPES, BUT THE WORLD ITSELF IS GONE. THE WORLD OF THE FLAG IS GONE. YOU'RE SAYING THAT THE FACE-UP FLAG SYMBOLIZES THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE AIDS WHO ARE HONORED IN THE QUILT, THE PANELS OF THE QUILT. YOU'RE RIGHT. IT'S TALKING ABOUT THE QUILT. HE'S SAYING, THIS IS TALKING ABOUT THE QUILT, AND WHAT IF THE AMERICAN FLAG WAS A PART OF THAT QUILT? WHAT WOULD THAT BE ABOUT? IF THE AMERICAN FLAG WAS DOWN THERE AS A PIECE OF THE QUILT, THAT MEANS WHEN THE SOLDIERS DIE IN WAR, THERE'S A PARADE, AND THEY ALWAYS PUT QUILT-- WHEN SOLDIERS DIE, QUILTS ARE OFTEN DRAPED OVER THE COFFIN--THAT'S RIGHT, INTERESTING INTERPRETATION--OR THE FLAG IS PLACED OVER THE COFFIN, BUT YOU'RE TALKING MORE ABOUT DEAF PEOPLE, MANY DEAF PEOPLE WHO HAVE AIDS THAT DIED. THAT'S RIGHT. THIS IS REALLY TRUE THAT THIS IS A DIFFICULT POEM TO DECIPHER, BUT IT'S IMPORTANT, AND WHEN I SIGN THE DEAF STARS AND STRIPES AS I DO, THIS IS A WAY OF SAYING TO DEAF PEOPLE-- AND WHEN ALL THESE FLAGS ARE OVERTURNED, IT'S A WAY OF SAYING THAT THE DEAF POPULATION WILL DIMINISH. THE WORLD WILL DIMINISH. IT MAY GROW AGAIN... BUT AT THE TIME, IT'S DIMINISHING BECAUSE OF AIDS. DEAF COMMUNITY IS VERY SMALL TO BEGIN WITH. IT MAY BE ABLE TO-- PEOPLE MIGHT SAY, "OH, WE CAN FIND A CURE, AND PEOPLE WILL SURVIVE AIDS, AFTER ALL," BUT IF TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF, WE CAN GET IT, THEN WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SAVE THAT COMMUNITY. SHE WAS ASKING HERE, "WHY ARE THERE TWO DIFFERENT FLAGS?" WELL, BECAUSE IT'S SYMBOLIZING BOTH OF OUR FRIENDS JOHN AND STAN. [NO AUDIO] WELL, WHAT ABOUT PERFORMING ARTS? THERE WAS A GROUP OF US WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE PERFORMING ARTS, AND ONE NIGHT, WE WERE DISCUSSING SOMETHING AND HAVING A NICE TIME WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN, THERE WAS A REALLY NASTY FIGHT BETWEEN TWO OF US. THE NEXT DAY, IT SEEMED THAT IT WAS RESOLVED, BUT ONE PERSON, THE ONE WHO HAD BEEN INVOLVED IN THE ARGUMENT, CAME UP TO ME, AND SAID LATER, "YOU KNOW, I TOLD HIM I WAS SORRY." THAT REALLY DISTURBED ME. SHE WAS THE ONE THAT SAID SHE WAS SORRY? SO I CREATED THIS POEM, AND I DEDICATE IT TO MY FRIEND WHO SAID, "I'M SORRY." [LAUGHTER] [LAUGHTER] [PEOPLE CLAPPING] ANYBODY JUST DISCOVER THE DEEPER MEANINGS HELD WITHIN THIS POEM? YOU'RE SAYING THAT, "I WON'T SAY ANYTHING. "YOU MAY SAY YOU'RE SORRY NOW, BUT IT'S MY RIGHT TO BE SILENT." I THINK IT'S GOOD ENOUGH TO LEAVE YOUR INTERPRETATIONS TO YOURSELVES. THIS POEM SPEAKS FOR ITSELF PRETTY CLEARLY. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO REPEAT IT AGAIN, ANYONE? SHALL I DO IT AGAIN? OK. OK. FINE. NOW, DO YOU WANT ME TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING MORE ABOUT IT FIRST OR NOT? SHOULD I JUST GO AHEAD AND DO IT AGAIN? NO? YES? I SHALL JUST GO AHEAD AND DO IT AGAIN. OK. FINE. YOU WANT ME TO TALK ABOUT IT? NO. THAT'S ALL I'M GONNA SAY. NO. I DON'T DARE. I'LL LEAVE IT UP TO YOU, AND YOU CAN ALL DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES, AND I'LL PERFORM THE POEM AGAIN. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] THIS NEXT IS MY FINAL POEM, ENTITLED "CAVE." LET ME TELL YOU, THOUGH, IT'S VERY COMPLEX. YOU MAY WATCH IT AND BE COMPLETELY BEMUSED, BUT THAT'S FINE. AFTER I PERFORM IT, WE 'LL DISCUSS IT IN DEPTH, AND THEN WHEN I PERFORM IT FOR THE SECOND TIME, YOU'LL UNDERSTAND MUCH MORE CLEARLY THIS POEM "THE CAVE." I CREATED THIS POEM BECAUSE ONE WOMAN NAMED BARBARA KANNAPELL WAS GIVING A PRESENTATION ABOUT DEAF CULTURE AND OTHER STUFF, AND THAT TIME, IT WAS 1985, AND I SAT THERE COMPLETELY MESMERIZED BY HER TALK, AND THERE WAS ONE POINT THAT SHE MADE ABOUT COCHLEAR IMPLANTS. SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE INNER EAR, AND YOU KNOW HOW THEY ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE BIG EAR. YOU KNOW, THEY PUT THIS GIGANTIC POSTER OF THE EAR ON THE WALL FOR EVERYONE TO LOOK AT, YEAH, YOU KNOW, THE POSTER THAT YOU'VE ALL SEEN OVER AND OVER AGAIN. NOW, I REALLY LIKED THIS IDEA OF THE BIG EAR, YOU KNOW, THAT OFTENTIMES, PEOPLE SEE US AS ONE BIG EAR WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT US... [LAUGHTER] I FIND THAT DISGUSTING. I THOUGHT THAT POINT WAS VERY TRUE, AND SO I FOUND THE POEM, AND I ASKED BARBARA IF I COULD CONVERT HER IDEA INTO A POEM ABOUT THE BIG EAR. SHE TOLD ME THAT WAS FINE, SO I GAVE IT A LOT OF THOUGHT. WELL, I REALIZED THE CONCEPT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH, AND I STRUGGLED WITH IT A LONG TIME. IT WAS ALMOST 3 YEARS IN THE MAKING UNTIL FINALLY, IT HAPPENED TO BE BARBARA'S BIRTHDAY. SHE INVITED-- THERE WERE MANY PEOPLE INVITED TO A PARTY FOR HER, AND I THOUGHT, "I'D LOVE TO PRESENT TO HER THIS POEM ABOUT THE EAR TO DEDICATE TO HER FOR HER BIRTHDAY," FINALLY CAME UP WITH IT, AND ENTITLED IT "THE CAVE." CAVE IS SIGNED LIKE THIS. [LAUGHTER] [LAUGHTER] [PEOPLE CLAPPING] WELL--HA HA HA!--WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE YOU COMPLETELY [INDISTINCT]? THIS IS LIKE A BAND-- YOU'RE RIGHT-- KIND OF LIKE A BAND. SHE SAID, IT'S LIKE MUSIC, YOU KNOW, LIKE A BIG FANFARE BAND. YOU'RE CLOSE. YOU'RE ALMOST RIGHT. WHAT'S THE THOUGHT? WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? THIS IS ABOUT-- IT'S ABOUT THE INNER EAR, PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF, OR PEOPLE ALWAYS TRYING TO FIND OUT HOW TO IMPROVE DEAF PEOPLE'S HEARING, TRYING TO MAKE THEM ABLE TO HEAR BETTER. THEY TRY TO HELP, AND THEY EVEN ENTER INTO THE EAR TO TRY TO FIX IT. RIGHT. THIS IS CORRECT. VERY GOOD. YOU GOT THE POINT, HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD... AND FINALLY, IT'S A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE EAR AND A CAVE, RIGHT? YOU GO DOWN INTO A CAVE, AND THE TUBE GOES DOWN INTO THE EAR, AND, YOU KNOW, LIKE, THE DIFFERENT LINES IN AROUND THE EAR COMPARE TO STALACTITES IN A CAVE, AND WHAT'S THIS BEING PULLED OFF, THINGS BEING PULLED OFF? DO YOU KNOW THAT THEY DO? THEY CLEAN OUT THE EAR, WHAT'S BEING PULLED UP? WHAT'S BEING PULLED OUT? CILIA. RIGHT, AND THEY'RE IMPLANTING A COCHLEAR IMPLANT INTO THE EAR, TAKING IT DEEP DOWN INSIDE. AND YOU HAVE JUST A QUESTION. YOU'RE SAYING, "HOW DO YOU KNOW IF THE INCEPTION OF THIS IS "POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE? YOU'RE SAYING IT'S NEGATIVE." WELL, HMM, YOU'RE RIGHT. YOU COULDN'T CATCH IT, BUT YOU'RE RIGHT. I'M NOT OVERT ABOUT MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS. I LOVE AMBIGUITIES, AND I THOUGHT YOU WOULD HAVE TO WORK HARD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IT IS THAT I'M REALLY--WELL, WHAT THE REAL POINT IS. I JUST LIKE TO TALK AND GIVE YOU A PICTURE, AN IMAGE, AS I DID IN "SNOWFLAKE" AND AS I DO IN "THE CAVE" AND LET YOU THEN FIGURE OUT WHY MY PRESUMPTIONS ARE IN THESE IMAGES. WE HAVE A CAVE, AND THEN WE HAVE THESE STEPS, YOU KNOW, STAIRS GOING DEEPER AND DEEPER DOWN TO THE CAVE. WHAT DO THESE STAIRS SYMBOLIZE? IT'S THE LINE TO THE COCHLEAR IMP-- OH, A LINE FOR THE COCHLEAR IMPLANT, AND THEN THESE LIGHTS, WHAT DO THEY SYMBOLIZE? THE ELECTRICITY, RIGHT, THE ENERGY, THE ELECTRICITY THAT'S BEING WIRED DOWN INTO THE EAR, AND THESE DRIPS IN THE LIGHT, WHAT'S THAT? AIR CONDITIONING PLACED WITHIN A CAVE, MEANING THAT REALLY THE NATURAL ELEMENTS OF THE EAR ARE TAKEN OUT, AND THESE ARTIFICIAL ELEMENTS ARE PLACED IN, AND IT'S VERY IRONIC. YOU NOTICE THE RIBBONS I SET UP AND THE LIGHTS AND THE CHAIRS--RED, WHITE, AND BLUE--PLACED THROUGHOUT THE AUDIENCE SYMBOLIZING AMERICA. SAY, NOW, WHY WOULD I DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT? WHY WOULD I BRING UP THE AMERICAN FLAG? BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS THIS? RIGHT, BECAUSETHIS WAS DURING THE TIME OF THE HIPPIES WHEN THEY USED BRIGHT COLORS AND TIE-DYES AND ALL THAT KIND OF THING... [LAUGHTER] TO LOOK INTERESTING. YOU JUST-- [LAUGHTER] AND ALL THOSE NICE-- HAD HALLUCINATIONS, DAY-GLO NIGHTS, AND WE'RE ALMOST TALKING ABOUT MONEY HERE. YOU KNOW, THE COCHLEAR IMPLANTS COST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE. YOU'RE PUTTING A LOT OF MONEY INTO A KID WHEN THEY DO THAT, SO I'M SURE THAT THE TECHNOLOGISTS, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE USING THIS, ONLY SEE DOLLAR SIGNS IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES WHEN THEY THINK OF PLACING COCHLEAR IMPLANTS. NOW, WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT, THIS BRIGHTNESS UP IN THE SKY? IT'S ABOUT THE SOUND, ABOUT MISPERCEPTIONS, VERY GOOD, ABOUT ANGER. IT'S LACED WITH INTERPRETATIONS, BUT MY INTERPRETATIONS ARE THAT THESE ARE THE SOUNDS THAT I CAN HEAR, AND A COCHLEAR IMPLANT JUST MAKES THOSE SOUNDS INCREASED IN VOLUME, SO YOU MAY HEAR AN AIRPLANE NOW WITH INCREASED AMPLITUDE, SO WHAT, THEN, GOOD IS THAT? OK. NOW I'LL PERFORM IT AGAIN, ALL RIGHT, AND THIS IS THE LAST AND FINAL POEM. [LAUGHTER] [PEOPLE CLAPPING AND CHEERING] OK. THAT'S ALL FOR THIS EVENING, BUT I'D LIKE TO LET YOU KNOW THAT BEING HERE WAS REALLY EXCITING FOR ME. I'M TEACHING DEAF CHILDREN NOW, AND THERE'S MORE AND MORE NEWS ABOUT CHILDREN GETTING COCHLEAR IMPLANTS, SO I REALLY WANT TO TALK TO YOU. I'LL BE WRITING AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT THAT. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO MY MESSAGE. TAKE CARE. [PEOPLE CLAPPING] I'D LIKE TO THANK THE INTERPRETER FOR INTERPRETING FOR CLAYTON VALLI TONIGHT--SUSAN CHAPLIN... [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] AND WE HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE TONIGHT, AND I HOPE YOU COME BACK AFTER THAT.
Notes: 
"This project is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."
Notes: 
Title supplied by cataloger