Detail View: RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive: Presentation and performance side view

Filename: 
ds_0027_panaraginsberg_cap_01.mp4
Identifier: 
ds_0027_panaraginsberg_cap_01.mp4
Title: 
Presentation and performance side view
Creator: 
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997
Subject: 
American poetry 20th century
Subject: 
American Sign Language
Subject: 
Translating and interpreting
Subject: 
ASL poetry
Summary: 
The video shows Allen Ginsberg and the interpreter, Kip Webster to his left. Allen Ginsberg discusses the influence of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams who emphasized the pictorial aspects in poetry. Ginsberg performs the poem, "Howl", and discusses translation issues for some abstract concepts, such as "angel-headed hipster", and "starry dynamo". He also talks about surrealism in poetry and continues to recite his poem. Patrick Graybill translates in ASL "hydrogen jukebox" and captured the image clearly. Graybill also performed the poem Dreams by Langston Hughes and the ASL translation process. Ginsberg suggests that Panara translate "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams and writes the poem on the board. After discussion of the poem's meaning, Panara translates the poem. The video ends with Ginsberg performing "BirdBrain" accompanying himself with a harmonium.
Publisher: 
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Digital Publisher: 
Rochester Institute of Technology - RIT Libraries - RIT Archive Collections
Contributor: 
Graybill, Patrick
Contributor: 
Panara, Robert
Date of Original: 
1984
Date of Digitization: 
2018
Broad Type: 
moving image
Digital File Format: 
mp4
Physical Format: 
VHS
Dimensions of Original: 
64 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=b3954528
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: 
ALLEN GINSBERG: I WAS LOOKING FOR THOSE HAIKUS THAT I DID THE OTHER DAY. [INDISTINCT CHATTER] DAMN IT. I GOT ALL MY PAPERS ALL MIXED UP. - YOU WANT THE COPY OF... [INDISTINCT] GINSBERG: WITH THE HAIKUS, YEAH. YOU GOT THE ONE WITH THE HAIKUS? IS THAT THE PAGE OF HAIKUS THERE? YEAH. - THIS ONE? GINSBERG: YEAH. MAN: YOU ABOUT READY... GINSBERG: YES. I HAD ONE QUESTION TO BEGIN. I READ-- [MAN SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY] GINSBERG: YES. YOU START. YOU START. MAN: THANK YOU FOR COMING HERE TODAY. IT'S A PLEASURE TO HAVE BOTH ROBERT PANARA AND ALLEN GINSBERG. WE--IN A SPECIALIZED SETTING, INTERPRETER TRAINING PROGRAM. WE'RE BEGINNING WITH PERFORMING ARTS. SO THIS IS A WONDERFUL WAY TO BEGIN THAT SECTION OF OUR PROGRAM. UH... BOB IS A TEACHER HERE AND A FAMOUS POET HIMSELF. HE PUBLISHED A BOOK CALLED "THE SILENT MUSE: AN ANTHOLOGY," WHICH IS A COLLECTION OF DEAF POETRY IN THE SIXTIES, RIGHT? ALLEN GINSBERG PUBLISHED "HOWL AND OTHER POEMS" IN 1956. THAT PARTICULAR BOOK CHANGED THE WHOLE IDEA, CONCEPT OF POETRY. AND BOTH OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON THE IDEA THAT POETRY IS PICTURES. AND FOR INTERPRETERS, THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT, I THINK, BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE THAT IDEA IN MIND, TO SEE A PICTURE WILL HELP US ALL INTERPRETING POEMS. SO, BRIEFLY ENOUGH, WE PRESENT ROBERT PANARA AND ALLEN GINSBERG. [APPLAUSE] GINSBERG: SO I HAD ONE QUESTION AT THE BEGINNING. IN THE ROOM, WHO HERE IS DEAF? ON THIS SIDE? JUST A FEW OF YOU. AND MOST EVERYBODY HEARS. EVERYBODY ELSE IS LEARNING A LANGUAGE. AND AMONG THOSE DEAF, HOW MANY ARE DEAF FROM BIRTH? AND HOW MANY BECAME DEAF BUT HEARD FIRST? BECAUSE I READ AN INTERVIEW WITH BOB PANARA-- A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JIM COHN AND MR. PANARA IN WHICH HE SAID THAT SINCE HE WAS DEAF AFTER THE AGE OF 10, HE HAD SOME IDEA OF SOUND POETRY AND SO LIKED RHYME AND METER. THAT WAS HIS SYMPHONY NOW. HE STARTED AS A MUSICIAN-- OR HIS FATHER WAS A MUSICIAN. AND SO HE STILL RETAINED THE TRACE OF MUSIC IN IT. DO YOU HEAR MUSIC IN YOUR HEAD STILL? PANARA: OH, HA HA! I HAVE RINGING IN MY EARS KNOWN AS TINNITUS. THAT'S THE MEDICAL TERM. TINNITUS-- WELL, POE SPEAKS OF THE TINTINNABULATION... GINSBERG: -BULATION. YES. PANARA: THAT'S SO ... WELL. GINSBERG: YES. PANARA: WE HAD THAT. MANY WHO HAVE A HIGH FEVER-- I HAD AN 108 FEVER FOR 10 DAYS AND WAS IN A COMA. BUT SOMETHING IS STILL RINGIN IN THERE ALL THE TIME. SO I ALWAYS HEAR THE BELL, HUH? [LAUGHTER] GINSBERG: YEAH. DO YOU ALSO IMAGINE MUSIC IN YOUR HEAD? PANARA: YES. I CAN TURN ON MY INNER RADIO... GINSBERG: YEAH. PANARA: AND BRING BACK MANY OF THE MELODIES THAT I ONCE COULD HEAR. MY FATHER USED TO PLAY THE GUITAR AT HOME. THE THING ON SATURDAY NIGHTS, WHEN HE CAME BACK FROM THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE, LISTENING TO HIS FAVORITE, ENRICO CARUSO, HE WOULD COME BACK SINGING ALL THE TIME. GINSBERG: CAN YOU MAKE UP MUSIC IN YOUR HEAD? PANARA: I BELIEVE I HAVE CREATED SOME SONGS MYSELF, BUT NOT KNOWING HOW TO WRITE A SCORE, THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN REPRODUCE THAT. GINSBERG: UH-HUH. CAN YOU MAKE UP METERS IN YOUR HEAD? YOU MAKE UP POETRY IN YOUR HEAD. SO DO YOU HEAR IT RHYTHMICALLY IN YOUR HEAD? PANARA: YES. REALLY, ALLEN, THAT'S WHY I DEVELOPED AN EARLY LOVE FOR POETRY AFTER I BECAME DEAF. POETRY BECAME A SUBSTITUTE FOR MUSIC FOR ME.IT ALSO HELPED DEVELOP MY VOCABULARY. BECAUSE OF THE RHYMED ENDING OF WORDS, I DIDN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO GO TO THE DICTIONARY TO FIND OUT HOW TO PRONOUNCE A WORD. AND BECAUSE OF THE METER WITHIN THE LINE, I WOULD SEE WHERE THE ACCENT FELL--ON THE FIRST SYLLABLE OR SECOND SYLLABLE OR THE THIRD. IT REALLY HELPED A LOT. YEAH. GINSBERG: UH-HUH. SO THOSE WERE FOR THE WORDS YOU DID NOT LEARN BEFORE YOU WERE 10 YEARS OLD. PANARA: MOST OF THE WORDS I LEARNED AFTER 10. HA HA! GINSBERG: YEAH. OK. HOW MANY HERE HEARD BEFORE THEY BECAME DEAF, LIKE MR. PANARA? HAVE YOU HAD THE SAME EXPERIENCE? - WELL, I STILL ENJOY MUSIC IF IT'S LOUD ENOUGH. GINSBERG: YOU CAN HEAR SOUND? - I CAN FEEL THE BEAT. INSIDE MYSELF, I CAN MAKE SOME MUSIC, YES, OF COURSE. GINSBERG: IF MUSIC IS LOUD ENOUGH, YOU CAN HEAR THE BEAT? HOW MANY ARE DEAF THAT HAD HEARING, LIKE YOURSELF HERE? CAN YOU RAISE YOUR HAND AGAIN? TWO. AND WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE? - I BECAME DEAF WHEN I WAS 3 YEARS OLD. SO I REALLY DON'T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT THE SOUND BEFORE, BUT, SAME AS WHAT HE WAS SAYING, IF THE MUSIC'S LOUD ENOUGH, I CAN FEEL THE VIBRATIONS AND ENJOY THAT. GINSBERG: CAN YOU HEAR THIS? [CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK] - NO. GINSBERG: THESE ARE...NO. PANARA: I CAN FEEL IT FROM THE WOODEN FLOOR. WE HAVE A CARPET OVER HERE. GINSBERG: AH, YES. - BUT I CAN IMAGINE WHAT THAT MIGHT SOUND LIKE. GINSBERG: I SEE. - I MAKE MY OWN SOUND FOR IT. I CREATE MY OWN SOUND. GINSBERG: I SEE. THESE ARE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINE SONG STICKS. AND THIS IS THE OLDEST FORM OF POETRY IN THE WORLD. THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES... PANARA: LET ME FEEL IT. BUT SOUNDS VERY WOODEN TO ME... NOTHING ELSE. GINSBERG: THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINE METHOD OF POETRY IS BASED ON RHYTHM MADE BY KNOCKING THESE STICKS TOGETHER. [CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK] AND IT IS ALL ORAL, PURE SOUND, NOT WRITTEN DOWN AT ALL AND PASSED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. AND THEY MENTION ANIMALS WHICH HAVE BEEN EXTINCT FOR 12,000 YEARS. SO IT'S THE OLDEST LIVING CULTURE ON THE PLANET. AND IF LONGEVITY IS A SIGN OF SOPHISTICATION... IT'S THE MOST SOPHISTICATED CULTURE ON THE PLANET, IF HISTORICAL MEMORY IS A SIGN OF HIGH CULTURE. BUT THEIR METHOD WAS VERY SIMPLE, RHYTHMIC... [CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK] REPETITION. PANARA: LIKE "THE CONGO." GINSBERG: YES. PANARA: VACHEL LINDSAY'S POEM. GINSBERG: YES, YES. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE BORN DEAF, HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYTHING, THEN-- - NO, NOTHING. - NOTHING. SO, DO YOU HEAR MUSIC OF SOME KIND? GRAYBILL: NO, NO. PLANES GOING OVER MY HEAD, MAYBE. GINSBERG: REALLY? SO THEN WHAT IS YOUR CONCEPTION OF POETRY OR YOUR EXPERIENCE OF POETRY? GRAYBILL: I ENJOY RECITING POETRY IN SIGN LANGUAGE, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT RHYTHM. GINSBERG: SOUND. GRAYBILL: AND I'M MORE FASCINATED WITH THE WORDS THAT THE POETRY USES AND EXTRACTS, AND I WANT TO TRANSLATE THOSE INTO SIGN LANGUAGE THAT SEEMS EQUIVALENT TO THE WORDS, AND TO MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL, AND THAT'S DIFFICULT. PANARA: MAYBE THAT'S GOOD FOR US NOW TO TRY TO PRESENT ONE POEM I WROTE THAT MAYBE DEALS WITH THIS TOPIC... GINSBERG: YES. PANARA: CALLED "ON HIS DEAFNESS." GINSBERG: UH-HUH. PANARA: MAYBE WE GET AN IDEA OF WHAT PAT GRAYBILL MEANS WHEN HE CAN HEAR WORDS AND THEY ARE READ AND SIGNED. GINSBERG: PAT GRAYBILL IS... - THAT'S ME. GINSBERG: THAT'S HIM? BUT HIS INTEREST IN POETRY IS FOR THE VISUAL OR THE IDEA RATHER THAN THE SOUND. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE'S NO SOUND INVOLVED THERE. PURELY PICTURE AN IDEA. - YES. GINSBERG: WELL, 20th-CENTURY POETRY IS MOSTLY PICTURE AND IDEA. SO MODERN POETRY, ESPECIALLY AFTER EZRA POUND AND WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS AND THE IMAGIST POETS, SHOULD BE THE BEST--OR IS ALMOST SPECIFICALLY TAILORED FOR THOSE WHO ARE DEAF. POUND POINTED OUT THAT POETRY HAD 3 DIFFERENT ASPECTS FOR HIM. ONE WAS SOUND--MELOPOEIA. ONE WAS THE DANCE OF THE INTELLECT AMONG THE WORDS, THE WITTINESS OR THE SOPHISTICATION OR THE STRANGENESS OF FUNNY WORDS BEING PUT TOGETHER, LIKE THE PHRASE "NAZI MILK." BUT THE OTHER WAS THE PURE PICTURE ASPECT. THE THIRD WAS THE PURE PICTURE ASPECT, THE CASTING OF A PICTURE ON THE MIND'S EYE. AND EVER SINCE THEIR WORK, THE REASON WE'VE GONE INTO A LOT OF FREE VERSE-- DIFFERENT FROM THE KIND THAT BOB LIKES-- HAS BEEN THE EMPHASIS ON THE PICTURE ASPECT. AND ESPECIALLY IN THE 20th CENTURY, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TRANSLATION FROM MANY LANGUAGES INTO ENGLISH AND FROM ENGLISH INTO MANY LANGUAGES. AND THE POETRY THAT TRANSLATES THE BEST IS THE POETRY THAT HAS PICTURES IN IT AND DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE SOUND AND DOESN'T DEPEND ON THE RHYMES BUT JUST DEPENDS ON THE PURE PICTURE. SO THERE'S BEEN MORE AND MORE OF A TENDENCY TO DEVELOP AN INTERNATIONAL POETRY STYLE, WHICH IS FREE VERSE, THAT IS OPEN VERSE, THAT DOESN'T HAVE A RECURRENT METER AND DOESN'T HAVE RECURRENT RHYME BUT HAS HARDER AND HARDER, CLEARER AND CLEARER PICTURES. PANARA: I UNDERSTAND THAT. AND WE--AND MYSELF, ALSO, GREATLY APPRECIATE FREE VERSE, ESPECIALLY THAT IMAGERY OF MODERN POETRY THAT POUND AND HIS GROUP CROSSED, WOULD BE HARD AND CLEAR OR CONCRETE AND VERY PRECISE. MAYBE WE COULD SHOW SOME EXAMPLES OF THAT. GINSBERG: YES. FIRST, LET US GO TO YOUR POEM THAT YOU PROPOSED TO PRESENT. PANARA: ON THAT SUBJECT. GINSBERG: YEAH. GINSBERG: OK, THEN I WILL TAKE OFF MY COAT BECAUSE THAT IS HOW I WORK WHEN TEACHING THE DEAF. HA HA! [LAUGHTER] MY EARS ARE DEAF, BUT STILL I SEEM TO HEAR SWEET NATURE'S MUSIC AND THE SONGS OF MAN, FOR I HAVE LEARNED FROM FANCY'S ARTISAN HOW WRITTEN WORDS CAN THRILL THE INNER EAR JUST AS THEY MOVE THE HEART, AND SO FOR ME, WORDS ALSO SEEM TO RING OUT LOUD AND FREE. IN SILENT STUDY I HAVE LEARNED TO TELL EACH SECRET SHADE OF MEANING AND TO HEAR A MAGIC HARMONY, AT ONCE SINCERE, THAT SOMEHOW NOTES THE TINKLE OF A BELL, THE COOING OF A DOVE, THE SWISH OF LEAVES, THE RAINDROP'S PITTER-PATTER ON THE EAVES, THE LOVER'S SIGH AND THRUMMING OF GUITAR, AND, IF I CHOOSE, THE RUSTLE OF A STAR! [APPLAUSE] THANK YOU. GINSBERG: SO THEN IT BECOMES A HAND DANCE ALSO. PANARA: YES. AND THAT'S WHAT I MEAN TO SAY. EVEN WITHOUT RHYTHM AND RHYME, DEAF PEOPLE HAVE A PARTICULAR ENJOYMENT OF POETRY. TO THEM, IT IS THEIR FORM OF MUSIC, PAINTING PICTURES IN THE AIR. FOR EXAMPLE, WE CAN TAKE A FEW SHORT HAIKU POEMS. GINSBERG: ARE THESE YOURS? IF YOU WOULD PUT THIS ON. PUT IT RIGHT THERE. FIRST WE SHOW--NO. I'M QUOTING FROM OTHER POETS. [APPLAUSE] GINSBERG: SO, THE PERFORMANCE OF HAIKU, THEN, BECOMES AN INVENTION OF A PANTOMIME. SO IT'S--ACTUALLY TRANSFERRED INTO ANOTHER ART FORM, LIKE DANCE OR PANTOMIME. [APPLAUSE] GINSBERG: THAT'S REALLY CLEAR! THAT'S REALLY CLEAR. PANARA: YEAH. WELL, YEAH, IF WE HAD THE TIME, WE COULD SHOW SEVERAL MORE SHORT ONES. YES. GINSBERG: WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY INTERPRETING SOME HAIKUS THAT I WROTE? PANARA: OK, I'LL ASK PAT GRAYBILL. GINSBERG: WHAT? PANARA: OK. AND I'LL ASK PAT GRAYBILL... GINSBERG: OK. WELL, FIRST ONE BY JACK KEROUAC. KEROUAC WAS A VERY GOOD WRITER, WHO WAS INFLUENCED BY HAIKU AND BY ORIENTAL MEDITATION BUT HAD A GOOD EAR BUT ALSO HAD A VERY GOOD EYE. "IN MY MEDICINE CABINET, THE WINTER FLY HAS DIED OF OLD AGE." I'LL WRITE IT DOWN. [GINSBERG SCRIBBLING] - WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE TO WRITE IT UP ON THE BOARD--THE HAIKU? GINSBERG: YEAH. BUT IS THERE SOMETHING TO WRITE-- OH. DOES THIS KIT ERASE? I MEAN, DOES THIS ERASE, ALSO? [MARKER PLACED ON SHELF] [APPLAUSE] - GET THE IDEA ACROSS? PANARA: WELL, YEAH, IT WAS TRANSPOSED. GINSBERG: HOW DID YOU SIGN "OLD AGE"? WHAT WAS THE SIGN FOR "OLD AGE"? PANARA: TIME HAS PASSED. WE HAVE TO HAVE THAT. WE HAVE TO SHOW--WE DON'T WANT TO USE TOO MANY SIGNS. AND SAY "YEARS PASS" OR CHANGE: "WINTER COMES." WE HAVE TO WORK ON THINGS LIKE THIS. GINSBERG: YEAH. PANARA: ALL RIGHT, POETS WHO WORK ON THEIR POEMS-- REVISE, REVISE, REVISE. AND EVEN WHEN RECITING THAT YOU OFTEN HAVE TO REHEARSE, WE HAVE TO DO THE SAME...YES. GINSBERG: YES. LET'S TRY ONE OF MINE. I'LL WRITE IT DOWN. THIS IS A GREAT INVENTION. HA HA! [LAUGHTER] A WHITE BOARD INSTEAD OF A BLACKBOARD. NOPE. - WHAT ABOUT "BIRDBRAIN"? [GINSBERG LAUGHS] SO THAT'S A BIG PICTURE. LOTS OF SPACE IN THE PICTURE. IS THAT VISIBLE? I MEAN, IS THAT CLEAR AS A VISIBLE PICTURE? SO THAT WAS, "IN THE HALF-LIGHT OF DAWN UNDER THE STAR PLEIADES, A FEW BIRDS WARBLE." PANARA: "HALF-LIGHT." GINSBERG: THAT'S THE HALF-LIGHT, DAWN... STARS. PANARA: STARS. [PANARA CHUCKLING] GINSBERG: YEAH. [APPLAUSE] PANARA: THANKS ... VERY SHARP, VERY CLEAR. YEAH. GINSBERG: THE AMBITION OF A GOOD POET IS TO BE ABLE TO WRITE SOMETHING THAT IS VISUALLY SHARP AND CLEAR. AND WHEN I AM WRITING, PARTLY BECAUSE I HAVE EXPERIENCE OF HELPING TRANSLATE MY OWN POETRY INTO MANY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, I'VE BECOME MORE AND MORE CONSCIOUS OF THE FACT THAT YOU CAN'T--THE ONLY THING YOU CAN TRANSLATE IS PICTURES. THE ONLY THING YOU CAN TRANSLATE COMPLETELY IS A PICTURE. YOU CAN'T TRANSLATE THE WIT OF THE LANGUAGE OR PUNS, AND YOU CAN'T TRANSLATE RHYME, BUT YOU CAN TRANSLATE THE PICTURE. SO THAT BECOMES THE TEST OF POETRY FOR ME. SO IN A FUNNY WAY, IT'S FORTUNATE THAT MODERN POETRY IS THE CLOSEST VERBAL FORMULATION TO WHAT MIGHT BE USEFUL FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF. WITH MODERN POETRY, THE SOUND IS LOST, BUT THE MAIN THRUST IS PICTURE. PANARA: VERY TRUE, LIKE NEW MOVIES. GINSBERG: YEAH. PANARA: EUROPEAN DIRECTORS CAME UP WITH A NEW HARD AND CLEAR IMAGERY IN MOVIES. YEAH, THE SAME PRINCIPLE, THAT'S VERY TRUE. GINSBERG: DO MOST OF THE PEOPLE HERE KNOW THAT ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN POETRY? MAYBE WE SHOULD GIVE MAYBE 4 MINUTES OF HISTORY. WOULD THAT BE USEFUL? - YES. VERY USEFUL. GINSBERG: YES. SO... PANARA: I FIND SOMETHING ELSE VERY INTERESTING ABOUT DEAF PEOPLE AND OUR LANGUAGE OF SIGNS. BACK, OOH, IN THE...WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE 1950s NOW, IN 1958, PAT GRAYBILL WAS A STUDENT AT GALLAUDET COLLEGE. AT THAT TIME, WE WERE STUDYING GREEK PLAYS IN HUMANITIES PROGRAM. WE WERE TEACHING "OEDIPUS" TO THE FRESHMAN CLASS. AND AFTER TWO MONTHS, THE CLASS SAID, "WHY DON'T WE GIVE THAT PLAY?" GALLAUDET HAD NEVER GIVEN A GREEK DRAMA BEFORE. HOWEVER, ANOTHER PROFESSOR NAMED LEONARD SIGER AND I GOT TOGETHER, AND HE SAID, "FIRST WE WILL HAVE TO TRANSLATE THE PLAY INTO SIGNS." SO WE WORKED ON THAT FOR A MONTH, TRANSLATING IT AND WRITING IT IN NOTATIONAL FORM, WHICH WAS REALLY--PROBABLY WE'D CALL IT PIDGIN ENGLISH OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT... GINSBERG: BUT PICTURE SIGNS, PICTURE SIGNS. PANARA: OH, VERY! I WILL SHOW YOU WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. YES. VERY PICTORIAL. MADE FOR THE DEAF PERFORMER, WHO WOULD HAVE ONLY A FEW WEEKS' TIME FOR REHEARSAL TO MEMORIZE THE LINES WITHOUT STRUGGLING WITH MEANING AND THINGS LIKE THAT. WELL, WE PRINTED THE SCRIPT, PICKED A CAST, WENT ON WITH REHEARSALS. AND SO, WE FOUND REMARKABLE PHENOMENON. IN THE GREEK PLAYS, THE CHORUS WAS COMPOSED OF 15 MEMBERS THAT PROVIDE THE MOOD AND MUSIC. LIKE, YOU HAVE A MOVIE, A SCORE. THEY ALSO PROVIDE THE ELEMENT OF DANCE MOVEMENT TO SHOW THE CHANGE IN EMOTIONS WITHIN THE PLAY. WE FOUND THAT IN GREEK CHORUSES, THEY HAVE STROPHE AND ANTISTROPHE, OR MOVEMENT AND OPPOSITE MOVEMENT, POINT AND COUNTERPOINT. SO SOMETIMES IF THEY WERE HAPPY, THEY WOULD BE PRAISING TO THE SKIES OR THE TIMES THEY WERE FEARFUL... [IMITATES NERVOUS GRUNTS] IT WOULD BE THE REVERSE MOVEMENT. WE FOUND IN TRANSLATING IT FOR SIGN LANGUAGE, THAT SAME THING CAME OUT BEAUTIFULLY IN SIGN. I'LL GIVE AN EXAMPLE. GINSBERG: YEAH, IT ERASES SO SILENTLY. HA HA! ONE OF THE LINES IN THE SECOND CHORAL ODE IN "OEDIPUS." "AND APOLLO WILL FOLLOW HIM "WITH LIGHTNING BOLTS "THAT BRING FIRE AND SURROUND AND CHOKE." I'M SORRY. I DIDN'T DO IT... FOLLOW MY HAND MOVEMENTS NOW. "AND APOLLO WILL FOLLOW HIM "WITH LIGHTNING BOLTS "THAT BRING FIRE AND SURROUND AND CHOKE." NOW WE HAVE A MOVEMENT GOING AWAY FROM THE BODY. "FOLLOW HIM WITH LIGHTNING BOLTS..." DOWNWARD MOVEMENT. "THAT BRING FIRE AND SURROUND AND CHOKE." IT GOES IN THE REVERSE DIRECTION. A MARVELOUS THING THAT HAPPENS OFTEN IN THE STROPHE AND ANTISTROPHE AND THE CHORUS OF 15 MEMBERS DOING THAT OFTEN WITH THE MOVEMENT AND SIGNS, ALWAYS STEALS THE SHOW. ALWAYS. [CHUCKLES] GINSBERG: WELL, THE ACTUAL HIDDEN PHYSICAL MEANING AND PICTURE ALWAYS STEALS THE SHOW IN POETRY LIKE THAT. PANARA: I WILL SHOW YOU ANOTHER EXAMPLE. ANOTHER EXAMPLE IS, I HAVE THE PRINTED TEXT FROM THE BOOK AND THE SIGN LANGUAGE VERSION. BEAUTIFUL POETRY IF THE SOUND IS STRESSED. A LOT OF ALLITERATION. BUT FOR SIGNING, WE HAVE NO PICTURES. WE CHANGE IT. GINSBERG: YEAH, IT SEEMED VERY ABSTRACT. IT SEEMED ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO TRANSLATE. "A MAN PROUD AND ARROGANT." "CLIMBS... "UNTIL HE REACHES THE TOP, "STANDS, BOASTFUL. "AND ALL THE PEOPLE CALL HIM GREAT. "UNTIL GOD BECOMES ANGERED AND STRIKES HIM... AND HE FALLS." [CHUCKLES] YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? GINSBERG: THAT'S CLEAR. [APPLAUSE] WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SHAKESPEARE FOR SIGNING? PANARA: I MEAN, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CHOOSE, LIKE NAMING MY FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYER... [LAUGHTER] HA HA! OR MOVIE OR BOOK... GINSBERG: OK. WELL, WHAT IS THE MOST VIVID SHAKESPEARE SIGNING? PANARA: I DON'T KNOW. THERE ARE MANY THINGS. MAYBE TOO LONG TO DO MARK ANTONY'S FUNERAL ORATION, FOR EXAMPLE. GINSBERG: "FRIENDS, ROM--" PANARA: WE COULD DO THAT IF YOU WANTED A LONG ONE. YEAH. GINSBERG: YEAH. LET'S SEE A PIECE OF IT TO SEE. PANARA: OR WE COULD DO PART OF HAMLET'S "TO BE OR NOT TO BE." GINSBERG: I IMMEDIATELY WONDER WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE ABSTRACT IDEA OF "TO BE OR NOT TO BE"? THE REST OF IT IS "SLINGS AND ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE." BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MAIN PHRASE, "TO BE OR NOT TO BE"? HOW WOULD YOU TRANSLATE THAT? BECAUSE THAT'S NOT A PICTURE. PANARA: THAT'S A GOOD ONE. WE OFTEN DISCUSS THAT IN CLASS WITH STUDENTS. WHAT IS HAMLET'S PROBLEM? GINSBERG: YEAH, ABSTRACTION. PANARA: HE'S TALKING ABOUT... GINSBERG: HAMLET'S PROBLEM SEEMS TO BE ABSTRACTION. [LAUGHTER] PANARA: VERY TRUE! HA HA! THEN A QUESTION OF LIFE AND DEATH, A QUESTION OF MUST HE ACT--KILL HIS FATHER OR BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN, FOLLOW THE LAWS OF THE ... AND SO ON, THERE'S MANY VARIATIONS. SOMETIMES THE DIRECTOR WANTS, "TO BE OR NOT TO BE." ANOTHER DIRECTOR SAYS, "TO BE OR NOT TO DO, TO ACT." ANOTHER MORE POETIC WAY IS "TO BE... OR NOT TO BE." GINSBERG: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN TERMS OF BEING? PANARA: THIS IS THE SIGN FOR "LIVE." GINSBERG: TO LIVE. AH. PANARA: TO LIVE, "L." "TO LIVE OR NOT TO LIVE." GINSBERG: OK. WHAT IS THE ROOT-- PANARA: THAT IS THE QUESTION. GINSBERG: WHAT IS IT, THE SIGN LANGUAGE ETYMOLOGY, OR THE ORIGIN OF THAT GESTURE FOR "TO LIVE"? THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING. PANARA: TO LIVE. THE LETTER "L." GINSBERG: OH, "L." PANARA: THIS IS LIFE... GINSBERG: YEAH. PANARA: "THE FORCE FROM YOU LIKE FROM THE GREEN FUSE," THAT DIADEM WE'VE TALKED ABOUT. LIFE. IT'S LIFE. YEAH. AND THIS WOULD BE THE REVERSE, A REVERSE MOVEMENT. THAT'S THE THINGS WE TRY TO DO IN SIGN LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS. GINSBERG: THAT'S UNIVERSALLY UNDERSTOOD, THAT GESTURE AS "LIFE"? NO. HE SAYS "NO." HA HA! - WELL, OUR SIGN LANGUAGE IS NOT UNIVERSAL. GINSBERG: NO, NO, NO. I MEAN, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO USE THIS PARTICULAR ALS. - ASL? GINSBERG: ASL, YEAH. - ASL SIGN LANGUAGE. GINSBERG: THAT PARTICULAR SIGN IS...? SO HOW WOULD HE SIGN? GRAYBILL: HE'D SIGN, "EAT. SLEEP." THOSE SIGNS ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND, ALL OVER THE WORLD, MIGHT BE UNDERSTOOD. MANY SIGNS THAT DEAF PEOPLE USE IN OTHER COUNTRIES ARE NOT UNDERSTOOD. GINSBERG: YEAH. WELL, THIS PARTICULAR SIGN, "TO LIVE." GRAYBILL: SIGNED LIKE THIS...YES, BUT WITH THE "L"s, THAT'S NOT. WITH AN "L"? NO. THE HEART IN...LIKE THE CHEST. GINSBERG: SO YOUR "TO LIVE" WOULD ALSO INCLUDE PATTING THE HEART? [GINSBERG TAPS CHEST] UH-HUH. SO THERE WOULD BE SOME VARIETY IN THE TRANSLATION INTO THE SIGN LANGUAGE, A VARIATION FROM SIGNER TO SIGNER. PANARA: SAME AS SPOKEN LANGUAGES. GINSBERG: YES, SAME AS TRANSLATION. PANARA: YOUR POETRY SPOKEN IN FRENCH WOULDN'T HAVE THE SAME MEANING AND EFFECT. SAME THING, YEAH. SAME THING, YEAH. YEAH. GINSBERG: SO WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND FAMOUS POEM KNOWN IN YOUR SIGN LANGUAGE? WHAT'S THE BIGGEST HIT? WHAT'S THE BIGGEST HIT... PANARA: BIGGEST HIT? "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER." GINSBERG: REALLY? MM-HMM. BECAUSE OF THE VIVIDNESS? PANARA: WELL, WE'D SAY IT EVERY DAY. HA HA! LONG AGO IN SCHOOL, IT USED TO BE SUNG. IT USED TO BE SIGNED IN THE CLASSROOMS UNTIL IT WAS FORBID. HA HA! BUT THAT'S PROBABLY THE MOST WELL-KNOWN. GINSBERG: IT IS? IS THAT TRUE? PANARA: FOR THE DEAF PEOPLE, WHAT OTHER POEMS? GINSBERG: WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE IT'S STILL USED? MAYBE WE'D LIKE TO SEE THAT IN SIGN? GINSBERG: YES. BUT I'M ANTI-PATRIOTIC. HA HA! PANARA: I ALREADY BELIEVE... I CAN READ AFTER--SEE AFTER... WE DON'T HAVE TO STAND UP. HA HA! YOU CAN STAY SEATED. BUT I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT AFTER SEEING THAT SONG BY ROBERT MERRILL IN YANKEE STADIUM BEFORE EVERY GAME, BY NOW ALL DEAF PEOPLE CAN READ THE LIPS FOR THE WORDS. [HUMMING OPENING OF "STAR-SPANGLED BANNER"] AND THE CAMERA FOCUSES ON THE FLAG. AND THEN ON THE SPEAKER'S LIPS: O, SAY, CAN YOU SEE... � IT'S NICE, BUT NOTHING LIKE SIGN. GINSBERG: SO WHAT WOULD THE SIGN GO? PANARA: � O, SAY, CAN YOU SEE � � BY THE DAWN'S EARLY LIGHT � � WHAT SO PROUDLY WE HAILED � � AT THE TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING � � WHOSE BROAD STRIPES AND BRIGHT STARS � � THROUGH THE PERILOUS FIGHT � � OVER THE RAMPARTS WE WATCHED � � WERE SO GALLANTLY STREAMING? � � AND THE ROCKETS' RED GLARE � � THE BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR � � GAVE PROOF THROUGH THE NIGHT � � THAT OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE � � O, SAY DOES THAT STAR-SPANGLED BANNER YET WAVE � � O'ER THE LAND OF THE FREE � � AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE? � [APPLAUSE] GINSBERG: HOW WOULD YOU SIGN THAT--"WE SHALL OVERCOME"? HA HA! [LAUGHTER] DO YOU KNOW THAT? PANARA: I CAN TRY. GINSBERG: DO YOU KNOW THAT? HAVE YOU EVER WORKED THAT ONE OUT? PANARA: � WE SHALL OVERCOME � WE SHALL OVERCOME � � WE SHALL OVERCOME SOMEDAY � � O, DEEP IN MY HEART � � I DO BELIEVE � � WE SHALL OVERCOME SOMEDAY � [APPLAUSE] GINSBERG: WHAT ABOUT "TYGER, TYGER"? I HEARD THAT YOU HAD WORKED THAT OUT. [LAUGHTER] THE GREAT "TYGER, TYGER." PANARA: "TYGER, TYGER"? YEAH. GINSBERG: YEAH. I HAVE A VERSION THAT I SING. BUT THERE'S NO POINT. I'D RATHER SEE IT IN PICTURES. [LAUGHTER] I'D RATHER SEE IT IN PICTURES. BUT THERE'S ONE THING ABOUT THE SUNG VERSION OR ABOUT THE METRICAL VERSION WHICH PROBABLY COULD BE ADAPTED TO DEAF LANGUAGE, WHICH IS THE FACT THAT THE METER OF "THE TYGER" IS BASED ON THE HEARTBEAT. HAVE YOU THOUGHT OF THAT AS FAR AS THAT POEM? PANARA: THAT'S INTERESTING. YEAH. "TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRIGHT." THAT'S A HEARTBEAT. YEAH. A HEARTBEAT. INTERESTING. GINSBERG: "TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRIGHT." PANARA: INTERESTING. YOU DO THE BEAT. GINSBERG: YES, OK. HA HA! [LAUGHTER] PANARA: TYGER, TYGER... [GINSBERG TAPPING BEAT] BURNING BRIGHT. THROUGH THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT, WHAT IMMORTAL HAND AND EYE DARE FRAME THY FEARFUL SYMMETRY? IN WHAT DISTANT DEEPS AND SKIES BURNT THE FIRE OF YOUR EYES? ON WHAT WINGS DARE HE ASPIRE? WHAT THE HAND DARE SEIZE THE FIRE? AND WHAT SHOULDER AND WHAT ART COULD TWIST THE SINEWS OF YOUR HEART? AND WHEN YOUR HEART BEGAN TO BEAT, WHAT DREAD HAND FOR THY DREAD FEET? WHAT THE HAMMER? WHAT THE CHAIN? FROM WHAT FURNACE CAME THY BRAIN? WHAT THE ANVIL? WHAT DREAD GRASP? DARE ITS DEADLY TERRORS CLASP? WHEN THE STARS THREW DOWN THEIR SPEARS, AND WATER'D HEAVEN WITH THEIR TEARS, DID HE SMILE HIS WORK TO SEE? DID HE WHO MADE THE LAMB MAKE THEE? TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRIGHT THROUGH THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT, WHAT IMMORTAL HAND AND EYE DARE FRAME THY FEARFUL SYMMETRY? [APPLAUSE] PANARA: WAS THAT...OK? GINSBERG: IS THAT A POEM THAT IS WELL-KNOWN AMONG THE DEAF? PANARA: WELL, I THINK BECAUSE OF THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF THE DEAF, WHICH PAT HELPED TO FOUND-- PAT GRAYBILL WAY BACK IN 1967. THEY HAVE WON NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM ALL OVER THE WORLD. MORE THAN THAT, I REALLY BELIEVE THAT IT WAS THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF THE DEAF THAT IS THE CATALYST TO WORLDWIDE ACCEPTANCE OF SIGN LANGUAGE AS A MANY SPLENDORED THING. SO THEY HAVE CARRIED POEMS LIKE THAT ALL OVER THE WORLD, YES. GINSBERG: WHAT ARE THE MAIN POEMS THAT HAVE BEEN WORKED OUT INTO SIGN LANGUAGE? WHAT ARE THE MOST...
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"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."
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Title supplied by cataloger