Detail View: RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive: Interviews

Filename: 
ds_0027_beersswayze_cap_01.mp4
Identifier: 
ds_0027_beersswayze_cap_01.mp4
Title: 
Interviews
Creator: 
Beers, Todd
Subject: 
Beers, Todd Interviews
Subject: 
Swayze, Eddie Interviews
Subject: 
American Sign Language literature
Subject: 
American poetry 20th century
Subject: 
Deaf Poetry
Subject: 
Deaf, Writings of the, American
Subject: 
ASL poetry
Summary: 
Part of a collection of interviews and other recordings made for a film on ASL poetry, "The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox." The first part of this DVD shows painter and poet Todd Beers discussing his work teaching writing at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at Writers & Books in Rochester, New York. Beers also talks about how the Painted Rope series of ASL poetry readings got its start. The second part shows Deaf artist and poet Eddie Swayze discussing his poetry.
Publisher: 
National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Digital Publisher: 
Rochester Institute of Technology - RIT Libraries - RIT Archive Collections
Contributor: 
Swayze, Eddie,
Contributor: 
Lerner, Miriam Nathan
Date of Original: 
2007
Date of Digitization: 
2018
Broad Type: 
moving image
Digital File Format: 
mp4
Physical Format: 
DVD
Dimensions of Original: 
65 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=b3955301
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: 
INTERVIEWER: OK. WHAT'S YOUR NAME, SIR? MY NAME IS TODD BEERS. INTERVIEWER: ALL RIGHT. AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW IN ROCHESTER? WHAT'S YOUR JOB RIGHT NOW? I'M PAINTING PAINTINGS AND THEN WRITING AND DOING A LITTLE TEACHING. INTERVIEWER: OK, AND WHEN DID YOU-- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WHAT YOU WOULD CALL A POET? LIKE, WHEN DID YOU START TO SAY, "I'M A POET," BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, "THAT'S WHAT I AM." UM... I THINK PEOPLE STARTED REFERRING TO ME AS A POET IN MAYBE '85, '84, SOMETHING LIKE THAT, THE EIGHTIES. INTERVIEWER: OK. AND WERE YOU FROM ROCHESTER? DID YOU START OUT HERE? - YES. - YOU DID? YOU'RE FROM ROCHESTER ORIGINALLY? I'M FROM WAYNE COUNTY. INTERVIEWER: ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT. A LOT OF SNOW IN WAYNE COUNTY. PARDON? INTERVIEWER: A LOT OF SNOW IN WAYNE COUNTY. THERE'S A LOT SNOW IN WAYNE COUNTY. INTERVIEWER: HOW DID YOU MEET JIM COHN? HOW DID YOU GUYS START OUT TOGETHER? UM, I GUESS I MET HIM AT A POETRY READING, AND, UM... JESUS. JIM COHN. WELL, HE HAD "ACTION MAGAZINE." INTERVIEWER: MM-HMM. I WAS AFFILIATED WITH WRITERS & BOOKS. HE WAS AFFILIATED WITH IT, AND HE, UM--I GUESS HE'S MY PUBLISHER. HEH. I CAN THINK OF HIM AS MY PUBLISHER. HE PUBLISHED SOME LITTLE POEMS OF MINE, AND IT GAVE ME A LOT OF-- HE TOOK ME SERIOUSLY, YOU KNOW, AS A POET, AND THAT REALLY DIDN'T QUITE HAPPEN BEFORE THAT TIME. SO I GUESS I, UM--HE REALLY OPENED ME UP A LOT AND GAVE ME HOPE, YOU KNOW, LIKE HE DID A LOT OF PEOPLE BACK THEN, I THINK. HE TOOK HIS POETRY-- POETRY IN GENERAL VERY SERIOUSLY. I THINK I REMEMBER JIM SAYING-- UM, I LOVE THIS QUOTE-- "POETRY HAS BEEN MY MOST FAITHFUL BRIDE." AND AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH? [INTERVIEWER LAUGHING] IT'S COOL. - THAT WAS HIS QUOTE? - THAT WAS HIS QUOTE. I REMEMBER THAT, YEAH. INTERVIEWER: HOW DID YOU GUYS COME TO CREATE THE PAINTED ROPE SERIES, AND WHY WAS IT CALLED THAT? A FEW OF US DID SOMETHING AT THE OLD SNAKE SISTERS ON SOUTH AVENUE, THE 12 1/2 CENT POETRY SERIES, AND AT THAT TIME, THERE WASN'T ALL THESE OPEN MIKES, YOU KNOW. I THINK THERE WAS SOMETHING AT WRITERS & BOOKS, BUT IF YOU WENT OUTSIDE OF WRITERS & BOOKS, THERE WAS-- WE WERE IT, YOU KNOW? THERE WAS, LIKE, 10 OR 12 OF US, AND I THINK MAYBE WE ASKED HIM TO READ THERE OR HE FOUND OUT ABOUT IT, AND THEN WE DECIDED JUST TO DO SOMETHING TOGETHER, AND I WAS DOING THESE CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE BASEMENT, AND I WAS FRAMING WHATEVER I WAS DOING WITH ROPE, AND I WAS PAINTING IT. HEH. LIKE, 4:00 IN THE MORNING, THERE'S TODD ON HIS KNEES IN THE BASEMENT, PAINTING THESE STRINGS AND ROPES, LIKE, PURPLE WITH MY HANDS, YOU KNOW, AND THEN WE WERE TALKING-- I JUST SPILLED MY COFFEE-- UM, WE WERE TALKING. SAID, "WHAT COULD BE A NAME FOR THE POETRY READING?" AND I SAID, "HOW ABOUT PAINTED ROPE?" I LIKED THE ALLITERATION, THE "P," AND HE SAID, "OK." HE WAS PRETTY EASY TO WORK WITH, YOU KNOW, AND HE LET THINGS JUST KIND OF HAPPEN. INTERVIEWER: WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENTION OF THE SERIES? SON OF A BITCH! SORRY ABOUT THAT. HEH. PARDON? INTERVIEWER: WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENTION OF CREATING THIS SERIES? PARTICULAR KINDS OF WRITERS OR-- WELL, HE WAS INVOLVED WITH NTID, AND, UM... SO HE INCORPORATED SOME DEAF POETRY, WHICH I WASN'T AWARE OF AT THE TIME, SO WE--WE PUT THE TWO TOGETHER AND CREATED SOMETHING THAT I NEVER SAW BEFORE, AND IT WAS A BIG INFLUENCE ON MY WORK. BEING EXPOSED TO THE DEAF POETS. [SIGHS] INTERVIEWER: HEH HEH. HOW DID YOU-- SO I WANT TO ASK YOU A COUPLE OF THINGS-- I'M GONNA ASK YOU IN A MINUTE ABOUT THE INFLUENCES ON YOUR WORK, BUT FIRST OF ALL, YOU HAD NEVER BEEN EXPOSED TO SIGN LANGUAGE OR DEAF PEOPLE BEFORE THIS TIME? - NOT AT ALL. - NOT ALL? - NOT AT ALL. - OK. SO THIS WAS KIND OF YOUR-- I DON'T EVEN THINK I SAW SIGN LANGUAGE AT THAT TIME, YOU KNOW? MAYBE WITH JIM TALKING TO SOMEBODY AND MOVING HIS HANDS, AND IT WAS LIKE, "WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING?" YOU KNOW, IT WAS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LANGUAGE FOR ME, BUT I LOVED THE DANCE OF IT ALL, YOU KNOW? THERE SEEMED TO BE A DANCE QUALITY TO IT. INTERVIEWER: MM-HMM. DID YOU-- BEFORE YOU SAW DEAF PEOPLE DOING THE POETRY, DID YOU HAVE AN INTERPRETER WORK WITH YOU? WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH THE WHOLE TRANSLATION THING WORKING WITH AN INTERPRETER, OR DID YOU SEE SOME DEAF POETRY STUFF? YEAH, I THINK I WAS EXPOSED TO MAYBE PETER AND KENNY DOING SOME STUFF TOGETHER. INTERVIEWER: AND YOU HAD MENTIONED A COUPLE MINUTES-- AND I THOUGHT IT WAS COOL THAT, LIKE, I COULD-- LIKE, KENNY--IT WAS COOL THAT KENNY WAS THERE FOR ME AS A HEARING PERSON, SO IT KIND OF-- YOU KNOW, IT WAS KIND OF-- I ENJOYED--YOU KNOW, IT KIND OF FLIPPED THE SWITCH ON THE WHOLE THING. SO I COULD BE-- IT WAS LIKE I WAS THE ONE THAT COULDN'T HEAR IN A WAY, YOU KNOW, AND IN A WAY, I WASN'T-- I WAS THE ONE THAT COULDN'T HEAR. SO THAT WAS NICE OF KENNY. HEH HEH. INTERVIEWER: YOU KNOW, HE DID IT JUST FOR YOU. HA HA HA! I THOUGHT SO. I THOUGHT HE DID THAT FOR ME, AND HE DID. INTERVIEWER: UM, TALK A LITTLE BIT, IF YOU DON'T MIND, ABOUT THE WHOLE PROCESS OF WATCHING INTERPRETERS ONSTAGE AND THEN WORKING WITH INTERPRETERS YOURSELF. UM... WELL, WORKING WITH THEM MADE ME REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT I WAS DOING AND WHAT I-- MAYBE NOT MY INTENT BECAUSE I THINK A POEM IS SMARTER THAN THE POET, SO IT MADE ME REALIZE WHAT THE POEM WAS TRYING TO SAY TO ME, AND I NEVER REALLY TOOK IT TO THAT LEVEL BEFORE. SO IT WAS AN EDUCATION FOR ME, I THINK, WORKING WITH AN INTERPRETER, AND IT WAS YOU I WORKED WITH, AND YOU WOULD ASK ME A QUESTION, AND MAYBE AN ANGLE THAT I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF BEFORE BECAUSE MY INTENT WAS TO CREATE AN IMAGE, AND I MIGHT LEAVE IT AT THAT, BUT THEN THE IMAGE WOULD OBVIOUSLY SYMBOLIZE SOMETHING MAYBE THAT I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND OR WAS WHAT WAS THE IMAGE SAYING OR WHAT WAS THE FRICTION BETWEEN THESE TWO IMAGES PERHAPS? SO IT MADE ME GO DEEPER WITH MY OWN WORK, I THINK, OR WITH THE MAGIC OF ART. IT MADE ME SEE IT PERHAPS BETTER I THINK. OH, I KNOW. I KNOW THAT, AND THEN WATCHING THE WORK WAS-- YOU KNOW, THE WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS LINE "IN THINGS, NOT IN IDEAS," SHOW, DON'T TELL, AND THAT'S WHERE HEARING POETS MISS THE BOAT. YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT ABOUT THE THOUGHT. IT'S ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE, I THINK, FOR ME AT LEAST, SO WHEN A POEM MOVES ME, I HAVE AN EXPERIENCE WITH IT. A THOUGHT DOESN'T REALLY MOVE ME SO MUCH, BUT IF I CAN SEE IT OR HEAR IT OR IT EVOKES SOME OF MY SENSES, THEN THERE'S AN EXPERIENCE THERE, AND THE DEAF POET IN A WAY HAS AN ADVANTAGE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE IMAGE. IT'S KIND OF LIKE-- I WORKED WITH KIDS IN THE HOSPITAL. SOME OF THEM WERE CHRONICALLY ILL. SOME OF THEM WERE GONNA DIE. WE DIDN'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH ALL THAT BULLSHIT IN BETWEEN. THEY WERE ALREADY THERE, SO WE WERE THERE. WE GOT IT ALREADY, YOU KNOW? I DIDN'T HAVE TO TEACH THEM ABOUT THINGS, AND A DEAF POET, THEY'RE ALREADY THERE, AS WELL, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE IMAGE. THEY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE SAYING. THERE'S NO-- I MEAN, THERE CAN BE AN AMBIGUITY WHERE THERE'S TWO THINGS BEING SAID OR YOU CAN TAKE THINGS ON THIS LEVEL OR ON THIS LEVEL, BUT THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE IMAGE. THEY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING IN A WAY. IT'S A LOT MORE THAN AN IDEA. IT'S A HECK OF A LOT MORE THAN AN IDEA, AND I WOULDN'T LISTEN TO A POET SPEAKING. I WOULD ALWAYS LOOK AT THE INTERPRETER WHEN I WAS IN THE AUDIENCE. IT ALLOWED ME TO SEE THE POEM BETTER, AND IT WAS ALMOST-- I COULD HEAR THE POEM, BUT THEY INTERPRETED IT FOR ME IN A WAY AND GAVE IT MORE SUBSTANCE, AND THE POEM DANCED THROUGH THE INTERPRETER, WHICH WAS AN EXPERIENCE FOR ME. THEY WERE VERY, VERY MOVING FOR ME. INTERVIEWER: FROM AN INTERPRETER'S POINT OF VIEW, ONE INTERESTING THING THAT WE WENT THROUGH WAS THAT WHEN WE WORKED WITH YOU GUYS IT WASN'T JUST THIS CEREBRAL KIND OF ART AND TRANSLATING AND PUTTING IT OUT IN THIS LANGUAGE. IT WAS LIKE PUTTING ON YOUR POETRY LIKE IT WAS CLOTHES BECAUSE WE HAD TO EMBODY IT, AND SO SOMETIMES, I HAD EXPERIENCES WHERE I WOULD INTERPRET SOMEBODY'S STUFF, AND I WOULDN'T FEEL THAT I REALLY GOT IT. YOU KNOW, I DIDN'T REALLY GET-- I'M NOT THAT PERSON. I KNOW HOW TO MAKE AN IMAGE TO CONVEY TO THE DEAF PEOPLE, BUT I WOULDN'T REALLY GET IT, BUT I WOULD FEEL IT BECAUSE I WORE IT. - MMM. - AND I KNOW THAT YOUR STUFF WAS LIKE THAT FOR ME AND JIM'S WAS A LOT LIKE THAT FOR ME, BUT HIS STUFF WAS SO MULTILAYERED. IMAGES, IMAGES, IMAGES, AND I WOULDN'T ALWAYS UNDERSTAND. HE LIKED TO WORK LIKE SERGEI EISENSTEIN, YOU KNOW, MONTAGE, MONTAGE, MONTAGE, AND THAT THE OVERALL THINGS IS WHAT GETS YOU AFTER THIS HUGE BOMBARDMENT OF STUFF, SO I WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND SOMETIMES WHY HE WOULD PUT THESE THINGS ALL TOGETHER, BUT I WOULD CONVEY IT AND DO IT PRETTY-- I WOULD WORK MY ASS OFF AND DO IT AS WELL AS I COULD, PUT IT OUT THERE FOR THEM TO FEEL WHAT THEY WOULD FEEL FROM IT, BUT I WOULD HAVE FELT LIKE I WENT THROUGH WORLD WAR III. WHATEVER THE FEELING WAS HE WAS TRYING MAKE, BUT I DIDN'T NECESSARILY GET THE POINT OF IT, BUT THE FEELING OF IT WAS COURSING THROUGH MY BODY LIKE WEARING A CLOAK AND THEN TAKING IT OFF. THAT'S BEAUTIFUL. INTERVIEWER: SO FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW, I WORE YOUR GREAT-- YOU ATE IT. I MEAN, YOU--HOW BRAVE. HOW BRAVE AN INTERPRETER IS, AND TO HAVE MY POETRY WORN BY SOMEONE IS-- WHAT AN HONOR THAT WAS FOR ME, ESPECIALLY AS A YOUNG POET OR EVEN JUST AS A YOUNG MAN TO HAVE SOMEONE TAKE MY ART THAT SERIOUSLY AND TO EXPERIENCE IT, AND I MUST SAY THAT THE DEAF AUDIENCE TOOK TO MY WORK MORE THAN A HEARING AUDIENCE. A HEARING AUDIENCE CAN JUST BE THERE WITHOUT BEING THERE. THE DEAF AUDIENCE IS THERE. IF THEY'RE LOOKING, THEY GOT IT. SO THEY-- THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE DEEPER MEANING OF THE POEM. THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE HEART. THEY CAN'T JUST KIND OF LET IT GO IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER, AS THEY SAY, YOU KNOW? SO THE WHOLE DEAF CULTURE WITHOUT ME KNOWING-- I KNOW THIS IS "BORING." THAT'S ABOUT ALL I KNOW, BUT THEY REALLY INFLUENCED ME A LOT AND PROBABLY INFLUENCED ME AS A PAINTER, AS WELL, YOU KNOW, A BIT, I THINK. IF I THINK ABOUT IT. INTERVIEWER: HOW DID THEY INFLUENCE-- HOW DID KNOWING THAT DEAF PEOPLE WERE GETTING-- FIRST OF ALL, SO AFTER YOU WOULD PERFORM, YOU WOULD HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH DEAF PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR WORK? YEAH, AND JUST HOW THEY REACTED, I COULD REALLY TELL THAT THEY WERE INTO THE WORK. THEY GOT IT THE WAY I GOT IT, AND THEY LET ME KNOW THAT-- THEY REASSURED ME THAT I GOT IT. THEY REASSURED ME THAT I WAS-- I WAS ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING, YOU KNOW, AND THE ATTENTION, THE ATTENTION TO THE ART. IT WASN'T LIP SERVICE HOW POETRY CAN BE SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW? IT WAS--THEY INTERNALLY GOT IT, YOU KNOW? BUT I WAS ALWAYS AFTER THE IMAGE MYSELF, AND I THINK A LOT OF HEARING POETS LIKE IDEAS, YOU KNOW? GO BACK TO THAT LINE, AND I DON'T THINK THAT'S ART. I DON'T THINK THAT'S POETRY. AND YEAH, THEY WOULD COME UP AND TALK TO ME A BIT. INTERVIEWER: DID YOU FEEL THAT--YOU SAID IT INFLUENCED YOUR ART WORK AS WELL AS YOUR POETRY. DID YOU INTENTIONALLY BECOME MUCH MORE-- YOU KNOW, IN TERMS OF IMAGES, STRONGER IMAGES IN YOUR POETRY AND LEAVE MAYBE THE VERBIAGE SIMPLE? OR HOW DID IT HAVE AN EFFECT ON YOU? - ON THE POETRY? - BOTH. THE POETRY. OH. UM... JUST I THINK IT'S MOSTLY THE ATTENTION, THE ATTENTION THEY GAVE TO THE IMAGE AND, UM-- LET ME THINK ABOUT IT FOR A MINUTE. HOW DID IT? I DON'T KNOW. HOW DID IT? HOW DID IT REALLY? HOW DID IT REALLY, REALLY DO IT? I THINK BEING UNDERSTOOD. YOU KNOW, I THINK BEING UNDERSTOOD. I WRITE--I THINK I WRITE TO CONNECT, YOU KNOW, THAT INTERNAL WORLD WITH MY OUTER WORLD, AND I REALLY THINK IT ALLOWS-- THE ART ALLOWS ME TO FEEL LIKE I'M ACTUALLY HERE AND AS WHOLE AS I COULD BE, AND FOR THAT TO BE APPRECIATED, FOR THAT TO BE UNDERSTOOD IS LOVE, IS LIFE. SO, I MEAN, IT GOES BEYOND THE ART. I MEAN, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE, THOUGH? AND FOR ME TO BE THERE OR HERE AND TO HAVE THEM REALLY PAYING ATTENTION AND APPRECIATING THAT I'M THERE AS A PERSON, YOU KNOW... IS, UH--IS A GIFT. IS A GIFT, AND WE'RE NOT HERE THAT LONG, AND I THINK DEAF PEOPLE MIGHT BE FORCED TO UNDERSTAND THAT BETTER IN AN ABSTRACT WAY, IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY, AND IT'S MORE DIRECT. IT'S MORE DIRECT. THERE'S NO MANIPULATING. WELL, THERE'S MANIPULATION. I GUESS ART IS MANIPULATION TO SOME EXTENT, BUT THERE'S TR-- IT'S MANIPULATION, BUT IT'S TRUTH, YOU KNOW, I THINK. SO IT'S NOT SO MUCH INFLUENCED ME AS WHAT DIRECTION TO GO BUT INFLUENCED ME TO KEEP BEING MYSELF AND, UM... FOLLOW IT, YOU KNOW, AND TO KEEP FOLLOWING IT, AND IT'S THE ATTENTION, IT'S THE INTENT. IT'S THE ATTENTION, WHICH IS-- THAT GIVES LIFE. THE DETAIL, RIGHT? EVERYTHING'S IN THE DETAIL, EVEN GOD THEY SAY, AND THEN THAT'S WHAT ART IS ABOUT IS THE DETAIL, THE SPECK. HMM. LEONARD COHEN ABOUT THAT SPECK OF DUST THAT YOU GET TO SEE ONCE IN A WHILE IN THE LIGHT. IT'S ALL THERE, YOU KNOW? AND THEY JUST REAFFIRMED IT FOR ME, I THINK. INTERVIEWER: THAT SOUNDS LIKE A REALLY GOOD CONNECTION. IT SORT OF SOUNDS LIKE ALMOST LIKE A SEMINAL TIME FOR YOU... NO DOUBT. INTERVIEWER: TO COME INTO THAT GROUP, AS WELL AS A VERY ACTIVE HEARING POET COMMUNITY THAT WAS HERE IN ROCHESTER. FOR A TOWN THIS SIZE, THERE WAS SO MUCH GOING ON. YOUR SERIES AND-- WAS THE PAINTED ROPE ONE ALSO THE SAME ONE WHERE THERE WERE, LIKE, 3 OR 4 A NIGHT AND THERE WERE A WHOLE BUNCH OF FOLKS? - RIGHT. - SOMETIMES, THERE'D BE 3 OR 4, AND THERE WERE TONS OF US INTERPRETERS. WE WERE WORKING WITH SEVERAL. IT WAS SOME TIME, WASN'T IT? IT WAS WILD. THERE'S NOTHING LIKE IT NOW, YOU KNOW? EVERYTHING'S JUST GOTTEN SPLIT AND, YOU KNOW-- I USED TO THINK, WELL, I'M JUST REMINISCING ABOUT MY OWN LIFE AND HOW GREAT IT WAS, BUT, I MEAN, IT WAS FRICKING HAPPENING. YOU KNOW, IT REALLY WAS, AND WE TOOK IT SERIOUSLY, AND WE MEANT IT, YOU KNOW? I MEAN, REALLY. IT'S WHAT WE DID, AND IT WAS AN EDUCATION, AND THERE WERE-- YOU KNOW, WE BROUGHT PEOPLE IN FROM OUT OF TOWN, AND EVERYTHING WAS INTERPRETED. I'LL NEVER FORGET JIM COHN INTERPRETING-- AND WE HAD MUSIC, TOO. I REMEMBER JIM COHN INTERPRETING A ROCK SONG ONCE. I'D NEVER BEEN SO FRIGHTENED IN MY LIFE. I'D NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THE MUSIC WAS-- IT WAS HARD--SOME KIND OF HARDCORE STUFF, AND IT GOES BACK-- IT JUST GOES BACK TO FEELING IT, HAVING TO FEEL IT IN HERE BECAUSE OF HOW JIM WAS INTERPRETING IT. HE WAS INTERPRETING IT LIKE-- I'D NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT. IT JUST WENT RIGHT IN ME WATCHING HIM, YOU KNOW? FRIGHTENING. IF IT'S FRIGHTENING, IT'S FRIGHTENING. IF IT'S LOVE, IT'S LOVE. IT'S BITTERSWEET, IT'S BITTERSWEET. THERE'S NO DENYING IT WHEN IT'S INTERPRETED. JUST THE WORD INTERPRETED IS INTERESTING TO ME, YOU KNOW? INTERPRETED. EVERYTHING SHOULD BE INTERPRETED, SHOULDN'T IT, A LITTLE BIT OR NOT AT ALL MAYBE, OR NOT AT ALL, BUT, NO, YES. INTERPRET EVERYTHING. INTERPRET NOTHING. I DON'T KNOW. INTERVIEWER: I MEAN, I WOULD ALWAYS INTERPRET IT. YOU KNOW, WE WOULD BRING IN, LIKE, SOMEONE, LIKE-- ELAINE, EILEEN MYLES OR BERNADETTE MAYER-- MEIER--MAYER. SO WE WOULD BRING IN PRETTY BIG POETS WHO HAD A CAREER ALREADY GOING ON, AND I DON'T THINK THEY WERE EXPOSED TO WHAT WE WERE DOING. I MEAN, IT WAS AN EDUCATION FOR PEOPLE THAT CAME IN FROM OUT OF TOWN, AS WELL, THAT ALREADY WERE WELL ON THEIR WAY WITH CAREERS PROBABLY MORE ADVANCED THAN OURS, YOU KNOW, AT THE TIME. IT OPENED UP A LOT OF-- IT JUST OPENED UP A LOT OF THINGS FOR PEOPLE. I REMEMBER... THE POET ABOUT THE SPACE SHUTTLE. 20 YEARS AGO. IT STUCK WITH ME BECAUSE IT WAS EXPERIENCED. I COULD SEE IT AND THIS-- YOU MENTIONED IT EARLIER BEFORE THE INTERVIEW WHERE THE SPACE SHUTTLE CAME UP... AND THEN IT EXPLODED. IT MADE HIM THINK OF KENNEDY BEING SHOT, AND THEN THE TEARS CAME DOWN, AND MAYBE HEARING PEOPLE ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE BECAUSE THAT'S HARD TO-- WORDS ARE SO LIMITING. YOU KNOW, I'M UP HERE STRUGGLING MY ASS OFF TRYING TO GET IT RIGHT. YOU KNOW, WHEN WE WERE TALKING BEFORE THE CAMERAS, IT WAS, LIKE, YOU KNOW, SO EASY, BUT NOW, IT'S LIKE, "OH, MY GOD." THEY'RE SO LIMITING, TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH SOMEBODY WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO SAY AND, YOU KNOW, THIS AND THEN KENNEDY AND THEN COMING DOWN. TO SAY THAT, IT'S REAL HARD TO MAKE IT AS BEAUTIFUL AS THAT WITH THE RIGHT WORDS, WITH THE SOUND. YOU KNOW, POETRY'S SO COMPLEX. SO I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT UNTIL TALKING TO YOU THAT MAYBE HEARING PEOPLE ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE IN MANY WAYS MAYBE, I THINK. I THINK MAYBE WE'RE THE DEAF PEOPLE. I REALLY DO. I REALLY DO. I REALLY DO, ALTHOUGH I WOULD MISS MY MUSIC, HEARING MUSIC, BUT MAYBE THAT'S--I DON'T KNOW. YOU GET THE MUSIC, THOUGH. INTERVIEWER: DIFFERENT KIND. WENDY TALKED ABOUT-- I INTERVIEWED WENDY LOW, AS WELL, AND SHE MENTIONED-- - GOOD, OLD WENDY. - WENDY WAS GREAT, AND SHE MENTIONED THAT EACH CULTURE AND EACH LANGUAGE HAS-- THEIR POETRY HAS DIFFERENT, WONDERFUL MERITS THAT ARE ENDEMIC TO THAT PARTICULAR LANGUAGE, THAT IT CAN ONLY DO BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT IS, AND THAT SIGN LANGUAGE ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SHE SAID SHE WOULD JUST GIVE HER TEETH FOR IS ITS ABILITY TO DO TRANSFORMATIONS AND MORPH IMAGES INTO EACH OTHER AND THAT WHOLE VISUAL THING THAT-- MOVIE ANGLES AND ALL THAT STUFF THAT YOU CAN DO THAT WITH WORDS IT WILL TAKE 8 MILLION WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS IMAGE THAT SOMEBODY CAN DO IN 4 SIGNS. AHH. INTERVIEWER: YOU JUST SEE, LIKE, A PICTURE IN FRONT OF YOU AND THAT THAT'S THE THING THAT SIGN LANGUAGE THAT-- YOU KNOW, MAYBE IT DOESN'T HAVE 150 SYNONYMS FOR "RUG," YOU KNOW, "GRAY RUG ON FLOOR DIRTY," OR SOMETHING, YOU KNOW, BUT WHAT IT DOES HAVE IS THIS PUTTING THE IMAGE OUT WITH DIFFERENT, LITTLE SUBTLETIES SO THAT YOU'LL JUST GET IT. YOU DON'T NEED ALL THE WORDS. IT'S SO DIRECT, AND IT GOES RIGHT IN YOU, YEAH. THERE'S LESS DECORATION TO THE-- TO GET TO THE CENTER OF IT ALL, I THINK. A PICTURE'S WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, YOU KNOW? AND MAYBE THAT'S WHY-- MAYBE THAT'S WHY PAINTS. YOU KNOW, TURNED TO PAINTING MORE ALMOST BECAUSE IT IS A LITTLE MORE DIRECT, EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT BE MORE COMPLEX OF WHAT'S BEING SAID, BUT IT'S MORE LAYERED, YOU KNOW? THAT'S INTERESTING TO ME. GOOD, OLD WENDY. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU REMEMBER-- YOU MENTIONED PATRICK GRAYBILL WITH HIS SPACE SHUTTLE POEM. DO YOU REMEMBER ANY OF THE OTHER DEAF POETS THAT YOU SAW? I'M SURE YOU HAD A LOT OF EXPOSURE TO PETER AND KENNY, AND YOU REMEMBER DEBBIE A LITTLE BIT. I REMEMBER DEBBIE A BIT, YEAH. INTERVIEWER: I'M SURE IT'S HARD WITHOUT HAVING SEEN THEIR WORK IN A LONG TIME. DO YOU REMEMBER ANY SORT OF SENSE YOU HAD OF WHAT YOU SAW THAT WAS DIFFERENT ABOUT EACH OF THEM OR HIT YOU A CERTAIN WAY ABOUT THEIR STYLES, OR IS THAT TOO-- IT'S TOO HAZY TO REMEMBER? I REMEMBER THIS OTHER CAT, TOO. HE'S STILL AROUND. I SAW HIM THE OTHER DAY AT THE MARKET. - EDDIE. - EDDIE SWAYZE. - I REMEMBER EDDIE. - COMING IN THIS AFTERNOON. WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S HARD TO-- AS A DEAF POET, IT'S PROBABLY HARD TO COPY-- COP A STYLE, YOU KNOW? YOU KIND OF HAVE TO BE WHO YOU ARE. I MEAN, IT'S YOUR BODY, YOU KNOW? THE BODY'S THE POEM. I MEAN, HOW COOL IS THAT, AND HOW DO YOU COPY SOMEONE ELSE'S BODY? YOU KNOW, I GUESS PEOPLE ARE DOING IT THESE DAYS, BUT I'M NOT RECOMMENDING IT. EVERYBODY WAS--YOU KNOW, THE INDIVIDUAL HAS TO COME OUT IF YOU'RE EVEN-- IF YOU'RE WHO YOU ARE. YOUR BODY IS WHO-- IT'S NOT WHO YOU ARE, BUT IT'S REPRESENTING WHO YOU ARE, I GUESS, AND YOU CAN'T FAKE THAT, AND THAT'S KIND OF NEAT. IT'S KIND OF NEAT. WORDS, YOU KNOW, WE CAN-- US HEARING POETS CAN COPY STYLES AND WHATNOT, AND I GUESS YOU CAN-- I'M SURE THEY'RE INFLUENCED BY EACH OTHER. I'M SURE KENNY BLEW THE LID OPEN FOR PEOPLE TO EVEN DO THIS, BUT YOU CAN'T COPY PETER, YOU KNOW? HOW DO YOU COPY PETER? YOU CAN'T I DON'T THINK. SO THERE WAS A-- MAYBE THERE'S A MORE OF A RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL IN A WAY BECAUSE YOU'RE KIND OF FORCED INTO THAT IT SEEMS MAYBE. YOU'RE MAKING ME THINK A LOT, MIRIAM. MIRIAM: I'M SO SORRY. NO, THAT'S GOOD. IT'S GOOD. MIRIAM: I'LL STOP SOON. I'LL HAVE ANSWERS FOR YOU IN A WEEK. MIRIAM: HA HA HA! BRING YOU BACK IN. YOU KNOW? MIRIAM: DO YOU REMEMBER GOING TO VERMONT? DIDN'T YOU GO THE [INDISTINCT] FESTIVAL ONE TIME WHEN PETER WAS THERE AND YOU GUYS SPENT THE WHOLE TIME WRITING ON A PIECE OF WOOD AND YOU TOOK THE PIECE OF WOOD HOME WITH YOUR WHOLE CONVERSATION FROM THE WHOLE WEEKEND? MAYBE. MIRIAM: I WONDERED IF YOU STILL HAD THAT PIECE OF WOOD. YOU GUYS WERE BACK AND FORTH FOR ABOUT-- LIKE, EVERY TIME I CAME OUT TO THE CAMPFIRE-- YOU CAME. DANG. I REMEMBER THAT. YEAH. MIRIAM: YOU AN PEG CAME TO THAT. ISN'T THAT--YEAH, YEAH, YEAH. MIRIAM: I REMEMBER YOU TAKING THIS PIECE OF WOOD AND, LIKE, PUTTING IT IN YOUR CAR. AW, MAN. I WISH I HAD THAT. NO. MIRIAM: I'D LOVE TO SEE THAT. WELL, PETER'S--YOU KNOW, PETER IS AMAZING. I REMEMBER PETER, HE WAS, LIKE, A BLOCK AWAY FROM ME. HIS BACK WAS TO ME, AND I YELLED AT HIM BECAUSE I FORGET PETER'S DEAF. YOU KNOW, I JUST FORGET THAT I CAN HEAR, ONE OF THE TWO. HE TURNED AROUND, YOU KNOW? IT WAS THE WEIRDEST THING. HE JUST TURNED AROUND AS SOON AS I YELLED AT HIM. HE'S IN TOUCH WITH SOMETHING. I MEAN, HE COULD READ LIPS SO WELL, BUT I NEVER-- TALKING TO HIM WAS, LIKE, THE MOST NATURAL THING IN THE WORLD, AND UNDERSTANDING HIM FOR ME WAS THE MUST AMAZING THING IN THE WORLD, YOU KNOW? JUST SO DIRECT, AND THERE'S AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL WITH THE DEAF POETRY, TOO, WHICH WE KIND OF TALKED ABOUT ABSTRACTLY MAYBE WHERE IT JUST-- YOU GOT TO BE THERE. YOU GOT TO BE THERE, YOU KNOW? MIRIAM: MM-HMM. YOU HAVE TO BE THERE OR DON'T SHOW UP, YOU KNOW? WHAT'S THE POINT? I DON'T KNOW. MIRIAM: DO YOU REMEMBER DEBBIE? DID YOU EVER MEET HER OR TALK TO HER? UM...NOT TOO MUCH. I THINK SHE WAS--NOT A LOT. I KNOW SHE WAS A MAJOR PLAYER AND ALL, AND I'VE ALWAYS RESPECTED DEBBIE, BUT I DON'T REALLY REMEMBER-- REMEMBER A LOT ABOUT HER. I THINK SHE WAS A--I DON'T KNOW. MIRIAM: OK. WELL, ONCE SHE AND KENNY BROKE UP, SHE WAS PRETTY MUCH-- SHE WAS STILL DOING STUFF AROUND HERE AND THERE, BUT SHE WASN'T AS MUCH, AND THEN SHE MOVED AWAY. MM-HMM, AND I THINK SHE WAS AWAY WHEN WE STARTED PAINTED ROPE MAYBE, OR MAYBE SHE WAS-- WAS SHE STILL AROUND? MIRIAM: OH, YEAH. VERY MUCH A PART OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY. YEAH. YEAH. I'M SORRY I DON'T REMEMBER TOO MUCH. MIRIAM: I JUST DIDN'T KNOW IF YOU HAD ANYTHING ABOUT HER. THE ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU-- AND BASICALLY, YOU'VE TOUCHED ON-- YOU'VE GIVEN ME LOTS OF GREAT STUFF, THIS IS EXCELLENT. WHAT IS POETRY? - PARDON? - WHAT IS POETRY? - WHAT IS IT? - WHAT IS IT? WHAT IS THIS THAT WE CALL POETRY? WELL... IT'S THE, UH--I DON'T LIKE TO REVERT TO QUOTES, BUT I THINK OLSON-- CHARLES OLSON SAID IT'S THE ONLY--OR MAYBE HE WAS SAYING ART, BUT SAME THING. CHARLES OLSON SAID, "ART IS THE ONLY TWIN LIFE HAS." I KIND OF LIKE THAT. YEAH. IT'S A DANCE. IT'S ANOTHER LANGUAGE. IT TRULY IS ANOTHER LANGUAGE. IT'S NOT THE-- IT MIGHT BE A TWIN, BUT IT'S NOT THE EXPERIENCE. UM...IT'S NOT THE EXPERIENCE THAT-- I'M NOT JUST TAKING A PICTURE OF WHAT HAPPENED. I THINK A GOOD POEM-- OH, PERHAPS--PERHAPS IT MAKES VISIBLE WHAT'S INVISIBLE. MIRIAM: CAN YOU SAY THAT STARTING WITH "POETRY MAKES"? CAN YOU START THAT WITH "POETRY MAKES"? I THINK POETRY MAKES VISIBLE WHAT'S INVISIBLE. IT UNREPRESSES, IT UNDENIES, IT-- IT SAYS IT'S OK TO LAUGH OR CRY OR FUCK OR WHATEVER, YOU KNOW? IT'S REAL. IT'S, UM... IT'S--IT'S TRUTH. IT'S TRUTH, I THINK, A DEEPER TRUTH THAN, LIKE, YOU KNOW, "MY HAT'S BROWN," BUT THERE'S A TRUTH INVOLVED TO IT THAT WE DON'T ALWAYS GET TO, YOU KNOW? WITHOUT IT, I--I--I DON'T KNOW IF I WOULD BE HERE. I WOULDN'T BE HERE, BUT I DON'T KNOW IF I'D BE HERE, YOU KNOW? YEAH. I'M WIPED. MIRIAM: HA HA HA! WELL, THAT'S-- THAT WAS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT. MIRIAM: THAT'S IT. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I THINK YOUR HAT IS POETIC, SO, I MEAN-- BEERS: MY HAT? YEAH, IT IS. MIRIAM: HA HA HA! BEERS: YEAH, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF WE JUST PRETEN-- YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW. MIRIAM: HA HA HA! CAMERA'S SPOOK YOU? [INDISTINCT CHATTER] NO. IT'S STILL COLD. I'M ALWAYS COLD, THOUGH. THAT WAS GREAT. I'M SORRY YOU DIDN'T FEEL-- THE CAMERA SPOOKED YOU? BEERS: NO, BUT IT JUST--YOU KNOW, TALKING BEFOREHAND, THINGS COME OUT EASIER. MIRIAM: THAT'S WHY I WAS TRYING TO HOLD BACK. I REALIZED THAT WE WERE GONNA SHOOT THE WAD BEFORE, AND I MADE THIS MISTAKE A MONTH AGO WITH SOMEBODY. NOT A MISTAKE. WE HAD A HALF-HOUR CONVERSATION. IT WAS RICH AND WONDERFUL. WE CAME IN, AND HE HAD ABSOLUTELY HARDLY ANYTHING LEFT. HE DID A GREAT JOB, BUT LATER, HE SAID, "I DON'T FEEL GOOD "ABOUT THIS STUFF. "I DIDN'T GIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEEDED. WE TALKED ABOUT IT ALL BEFORE." I SAID, "I THINK I LED YOU BACK ENOUGH TO WHAT I - REMEMBERED YOU SAID." - MM-HMM. MIRIAM: SO THAT'S WHY I WAS LIKE, "OH, I ALMOST DID IT." I WAS LIKE, "DON'T--NOT YET, NOT YET." BEERS: WELL, IT'S JUST LIKE TALKING, I CAN SAY SO MUCH, AND-- HI. MY NAME IS EDDIE SWAYZE. I KNOW ASL WELL, BUT I'M USING MY VOICE AND SIGN AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE I'M BEING MORE COMPATIBLE WITH HEARING PEOPLE, TOO, THEIR ACCESSIBILITY, ALSO. FAIR ENOUGH. MM-HMM. INTERVIEWER: WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN POETRY? WELL, I'D BEEN WRITING POETRY IN ENGLISH WRITING DURING HIGH SCHOOL YEARS IN THE EIGHTIES. MY HIGH SCHOOL WAS HORSEHEADS HIGH SCHOOL NEAR ELMIRA AREA IN NEW YORK. DURING THAT TIME, THE PUNK MOVEMENT WAS GOING ON, AND I DISCOVERED PATTI SMITH AND SAW HER WRITING. I WAS FASCINATED WITH HER WAY OF PLAYING WITH WORDS. I STARTED EXPERIMENTING MY OWN WITH USING SOME WORDS, YOU KNOW, BUT I WROTE POEMS FOR A WHILE. THEN WHEN I GOT INTO NTID IN 1983, I DISCOVERED JIM COHN, PETER COOK, DEBBIE RENNIE, AND ALL THAT, BUT I DIDN'T THINK ABOUT PERFORMING MYSELF AND TRANSLATING POETRY TO-- YOU KNOW, ENGLISH TO ASL. I HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT THAT. ONLY SIGNING SONGS. I'D BEEN DOING IT SINCE 12 YEARS OLD, SIGNING SONGS. WHEN I MET JIM COHN, HE ASKED ME IF I'M INTERESTED IN DOING ASL POETRY. "OH, I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT. LET ME TRY IT." SO I WENT TO JAZZ FAIR FIRST TIME IN 1983, 1984--I DON'T REMEMBER-- BUT THAT'S HOW I GOT INTO ASL POETRY IS FROM JIM COHN. HE WAS MY TEACHER IN THE CLASS BACK THEN. HOMEWORK WRITING, HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT, HE NOTICED IT WAS POETIC, SO HE ASKED IF ME I'M A POET. YEAH, HE RECOGNIZED KIND OF WRITING-- YOU KNOW, MY WRITING IN ENGLISH WAS NOT SO GOOD AT THAT TIME COMPARED TO NOW, BUT HE NOTICED THIS POETIC KIND OF WRITING, SO HE ASKED ME IF I WAS A POET. "HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT PERFORMING ASL?" I'D SEEN PETER COOK PERFORM AND ALL THAT, BUT ME? OH. "OK. I'LL GIVE IT A TRY." SO EVER SINCE. INTERVIEWER: SO BEFORE YOU MET JIM COHN WROTE ENGLISH POETRY? YEAH, WROTE, YEAH, AND THEN REALLY SIGNING ASL POETRY DIDN'T CROSS MY MIND REALLY. I WAS JUST SIGNING SONGS MOSTLY IN THAT TIME. INTERVIEWER: SIGNED THE ENGLISH? WELL, I SIGNED THE SONG WITH THE MUSIC, ENGLISH REALLY, A LITTLE BIT OF ASL, MAYBE PSE. DEPENDS ON THE LYRICS. I DON'T REMEMBER SPELLING, THOUGH. I DON'T REMEMBER. INTERVIEWER: SO WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED, LIKE, EXPERIMENTING FOR YOURSELF, DID YOU WRITE IT FIRST AND THEN TRY IT IN ASL, OR YOU USE ASL FIRST? WELL, I DID WRITE FIRST BECAUSE I WROTE FOR A LONG TIME, AND I TOOK SOME OF THE POEMS THAT I WROTE AND TRANSLATED INTO ASL. ONE I REMEMBER--I DON'T REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE POEM. I THINK IT'S "BECAUSE THE NIGHT." I THINK THAT WAS A PATTI SMITH POEM, AND IT WAS MY FIRST ONE. I HAD IT WITH ME WHEN I WAS AT NTID, AND JIM WAS, LIKE, "COME HERE. OH, THIS IS SMALL, A GOOD START." NOT A LONG POEM, NOT COMPLICATED, SO I TRANSLATED IT TO ASL, AND I DID IT THAT. I STILL DO SOMETIMES ENGLISH WRITTEN, TRANSLATING TO ASL, SOMETIMES NOT AT ALL. BACK AND FORTH. IT REALLY DEPENDS ON HOW THE CREATIVE PROCESS GOES. INTERVIEWER: WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED ASL POETRY, DID YOU FEEL-- DID YOU FEEL HOW YOU LET ON THE WORDS, HOW YOU USED THE IMAGE? WAS IT HARD FOR YOU, AWKWARD? IT WAS HARD IN THE BEGINNING, YEAH, AND I REMEMBER BEFORE ROOKIE NIGHT OR SOMEWHERE THERE BEFORE OR AFTER-- I DON'T KNOW--TAKING PETER COOK WORKSHOPS. I REMEMBER PETER COOK CHALLENGED ME. HE SAID, "DON'T LOOK AT THE WORDS. "DON'T THINK OF THE ENGLISH WORDS. TRY AND SAY IT ALL WITH PICTURES," AND I WAS LIKE. HEH. YOU KNOW, A CHALLENGE STILL. NOW I'M MUCH BETTER HERE, TOO, BUT, YEAH, I REMEMBER IT WAS A CHALLENGE, AND IT WAS A CHALLENGE. INTERVIEWER: SO YOUR WORK NOW IS WRITTEN IN ASL, OR DO YOU TEND TO WRITE? WELL, I STILL WRITE. I STILL ENJOY WRITING, AND I LOVE PLAYING WITH WORDS IN ENGLISH. I LOVE DOING THAT, SIT DOWN WITH, YOU KNOW, BUT I DO LOVE ASL, ALSO. SOMETIMES, SOME POEMS I TRANSLATE INTO ASL. SOMETIMES, IT'S JUST ASL FROM SCRATCH, AND THINGS IN THEATER TO SCRIPT-WRITING IS FOR ASL, TOO. YOU KNOW, ENGLISH, SHAKESPEARE TO ASL WAS A CHALLENGE, AND I DID IT FOR "TEMPEST" BACK IN 1989, WHICH IS THE FIRST THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE I AM INVOLVED WITH. I WAS ALWAYS A PERFORMING ARTIST. DAVID PULLED ME INTO "TEMPEST," AND I WAS LIKE, "OK. I DON'T KNOW. SHAKESPEARE. OOH." THANK GOD I HAVE PETER HAGGERTY, WHO'S A BRILLIANT ENGLISH TEACHER AND KNOWS SHAKESPEARE AND HELPED ME WITH IT. THAT HELPS A LOT, SO I STILL DO-- I'M DOING "SIGNERELLA" NOW. IT'S A SMALL PRODUCTION. IT'S A TWIST OF "CINDERELLA," AND IT'S A SCRIPT, AND I HAVE TO LOOK AT IT AND TRANSLATE INTO ASL. SO IT REALLY DEPENDS. SOME OF THE SCRIPT THAT I SAW IN "SIGNERELLA," THE ENGLISH, I WOULD THINK, "I DON'T NEED THAT." PFFT! THE CONCEPT, IT REALLY DEPENDS. IT'S BACK AND FORTH. IT'S BILINGUAL. I'M VERY BILINGUAL. INTERVIEWER: HOW DID YOU JUST STARTING POETRY [INDISTINCT] YEAH. THAT CAME FROM LAURIE ANDERSON, A MULTIMEDIA PERFORMING ARTIST. SHE INFLUENCED ME A LOT BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE'S POETIC. SHE PLAYS WITH WORDS, BUT ALSO EVER SINCE I WAS A KID, I'VE ALWAYS LOVED SCI-FI THINGS OR HIGH-TECH IMAGES AND, YOU KNOW, CYBERNETIC, PUNKY LOOK, AND LAURIE ANDERSON HAS A LOT OF THAT IN HER MULTIMEDIA THINGS. VIDEO BEHIND HER, THE HUGE VIDEO, ANIMATION OF HER WORK, VOCAL RECORDINGS. CHANGING TO A MALE VOICE WITH VOCODER TECHNOLOGY AND VIOLIN WITH BINARY-CODED TAPE. SHE PLAYED IT BUT WITH HERSELF. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. THINGS LIKE THAT. I THOUGHT ABOUT, "WOW. THAT'S SO COOL." AND SHE INFLUENCED ME, IS ONE EXAMPLE. POETRY--I'VE DONE ELECTRONIC MUSIC. I'VE DONE A LITTLE BIT, BUT MOSTLY IS ONE IS THE SINGER BJORK'S ONE WORK "PLUTO," THE NAME OF THE SONG. VERY, VERY SHORT AND FAST AND VERY MECHANICAL, TECHNO WORK, AND I THOUGHT, "WOW." IT WAS ALMOST LIKE LAURIE ANDERSON. CONCEPT A LITTLE BIT. YOU SEE THE BIKE, RED LIGHT-- BLINKING RED LIGHT ON THE BACK OF A BIKE ONE NIGHT. PROTECTION FOR THE BIKERS RIDING, BLINKING RED LIGHT, TWO OF THEM ON HER HANDS AND MOVE ALONG THE MUSIC. I'M NOT SIGNING THE SONG. I PUT IT DOWN, AND I SIGNED, AND I ALSO HAD GLASSES-- BATTERY-RUN GLASSES LIGHT, AND I MOVE. VERY ROBOTIC-LOOKING. PEOPLE LOVED THAT, AND I DID THAT RECENTLY A COUPLE MONTHS AGO FOR ONE SMALL GROUP OF STUDENTS, BUT I ALSO DID IT BACK IN 1990s FOR ASL CAFE AT THE COLLEGE CAFE, AND IT WAS MOSTLY JAPANESE STUDENTS FROM-- VISITOR JAPANESE STUDENTS. THEY ONLY KNOW JSL. THEY DIDN'T KNOW ASL WELL. WHEN I DID BJORK, THEY KNEW BJORK. IT'S VERY POPULAR IN JAPAN, AND WHEN I DID THAT, THEY IMITATED ME LIKE CRAZY. THIS ONE WOMAN WAS JUST DANCING LIKE NUTS. IT WAS LIKE, "WOW. THAT IS REALLY COOL." SO LAURIE ANDERSON INFLUENCED ME WITH THE IDEA OF USING TECHNOLOGY, EVEN THOUGH MINE WORKS MORE SIMPLE AND CHEAPER COMPARED TO HER EQUIPMENT. I MEAN, I'M NOT RICH LIKE HER WITH ALL THAT-- WHICH I'D LOVE TO, BUT USE WHAT I CAN AFFORD AND MAKE IT MORE INTERESTING. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU HAVE A TAPE OF THIS? I THINK YOU MIGHT NEED TO CONTACT SOMEONE INVOLVED IN ASL CAFE. BACK THEN, I KNOW IT WAS DAVID STROM, AND HE MOVED TO CALIFORNIA. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN CONTACT HIM, OR DELLA GORELICK MIGHT HAVE SOME VIDEOS. SHE HAS--I THINK I HEARD THAT SHE HAS A VIDEO OF ME DOING PATTI SMITH "PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER" AND A VERY PHENOMENAL VIDEO I WAS TOLD. I DIDN'T SEE IT. THAT WAS BACK IN THE NINETIES AT ASL CAFE. YEAH, SO HAVE TO CHECK. INTERVIEWER: DID YOU USE MUSIC IN THE EIGHTIES-- STARTED USING MUSIC, DID YOU FEEL THAT THAT WAS-- I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU CALL YOURS THESE DAYS. DID YOU FEEL LIKE ADDING MUSIC TO YOUR POETRY MADE DEAF AUDIENCES UNCOMFORTABLE, OR DID YOU FEEL THEY WERE OPEN, OR WHAT DID YOU-- I DON'T KNOW. I REALLY-- I WOULDN'T CARE REALLY IF THEY'LL ACCEPT IT OR NOT, BUT I'M SURE THERE ARE DEAF NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THE IDEA OF HAVING A HARD-OF-HEARING PERSON-- BECAUSE I AM HARD-OF--I CALL MYSELF HARD-OF-HEARING REALLY, BUT I DON'T MIND PEOPLE CALLING ME DEAF. IT DOESN'T BOTHER ME AT ALL BECAUSE I AM PART OF THE DEAF CULTURE ANYWAY. I'M REALLY IN DEAF CULTURE ALL THE TIME, SO I NEVER LET GO OF THAT. I ASSERT MYSELF REALLY WELL. WELL, IT'S JUST THAT MY HEARING ABILITY WITH A HEARING AID ON JUST ENABLED ME TO BE HARD-OF-HEARING. IT'S JUST THE CAPABILITY, THE TECHNOLOGY TODAY. THE FUTURE, WHO KNOWS, BUT REALLY, RIGHT NOW, I CALL MYSELF HARD-OF-HEARING. WITHOUT HEARING AIDS, I'M GONE PRETTY MUCH WITHOUT HEARING ANYTHING REALLY, SO I REALLY DEPEND ON A LOT. SO WE CALL OURSELVES HARD-OF-HEARING. WELL, RECORDING TO-- RECORDING TO SIGNING A SONG-- I MEAN, USING MUSIC, THE REALITY IS THAT MUSIC HAS BEEN A PART OF MY LIFE SINCE I WAS A KID. IT HAS NOT CHANGED, AND HEARING AIDS THEMSELVES, THOSE TWO HEARING AIDS, THEY'RE MUCH MORE [INDISTINCT] THAN BEFORE. THEY PICK UP HIGH FREQUENCIES SO MUCH BETTER THAT I'M ABLE TO PLAY GUITAR AND ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND ELECTRIC GUITAR, BUT YET THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT I'M ABLE TO SING WITH A GUITAR WELL. I DON'T SING WELL ENOUGH TO MATCH THE KEY. I KNOW THAT. SO I JUST PLAY GUITAR AND ELECTRONIC MUSIC FOR FUN. I DON'T EXPECT TO BE FAMOUS AND SUCCESSFUL WITH THAT BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE THAT. I'M REALISTIC TO MYSELF, AND I'M NOT THERE, BUT I STILL ENJOY ELECTRONIC MUSIC IN AS SIMPLE WAY AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO IT AND USE MY POEMS ALONG WITH ELECTRONIC MUSIC, USING GARAGE BAND SOFTWARE AND iMAC, WHICH IS THE ONLY THING I HAVE AND I CAN AFFORD. IT'S ALREADY THERE. I CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY PROPLAY AND ALL THAT STUFF THAT LAURIE OR MOBY HAVE, BUT WHAT I HAVE IS WHAT I HAVE, SO I USED IT AND I CREATED ELECTRONIC MUSIC SOUNDSCAPES. IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT MUSICAL CORRECTNESS OR RULES, OR IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT, AND THAT'S FINE. I JUST WANT THE BEATS AND THEN THE SLIGHTEST BACKGROUND TO GO WITH POETRY IS GOOD ENOUGH. SO I ENJOY THAT. SO HEARING PEOPLE TEND TO ENJOY THAT. SEEING ELECTRONIC MUSIC AND HEARING THE WORDS AND SEEING THE MOVEMENT OF THE HANDS, THE BODY LANGUAGE, THEY REALLY ENJOY THAT, AND I'VE SEEN THAT WHEN I SPOKE AT THE JUST POETS ORGANIZATION, WHICH I'M SUPPOSED TO DO THE WORKSHOP PRESENTING THAT, 2 OR 3 OF MY WORKS AT ST. JOHN FISHER COLLEGE IN FEBRUARY OF NEXT YEAR. YEAH. SO IF DEAF PEOPLE DON'T LIKE IT, I CAN UNDERSTAND THEY COULDN'T GET THE MUSIC, AND WHY WOULD I DO IT? WELL, I JUST LOVE THE SOUND. ACTUALLY, HIGH-FREQUENCY SOUND, ELECTRONIC SOUND, AND SYNTHESIZER THINGS AND SPACEY SOUNDS-- I LOVE SOUNDSCAPES, SPACEY, NEW AGE, AND THAT'S WHY I LOVE BJORK AND TECHNO MUSIC AND LAURIE ANDERSON. IT JUST HAS THOSE WEIRD BEEP SOUNDS. I JUST LOVE IT. GARY NUMAN, FOR EXAMPLE, BRITISH ELECTRONIC MUSIC, SO... INTERVIEWER: DID THAT INSPIRE PEOPLE TO COME UP THEMSELVES? I DON'T REMEMBER. I'M SURE THERE ARE. INTERVIEWER: AFTERWARDS, DO PEOPLE COME UP AND ASK? NO. I'VE SEEN SOME HARD-OF-HEARING, DEAF PEOPLE DO LIKE IT, ESPECIALLY THE LIGHTS. IT JUST LOOKED COOL AND WAS AN UNUSUAL THING, AND THEY WERE FASCINATED. IT MAY NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THEY LIKE THE MUSIC. MAYBE THEY DON'T HEAR IT, BUT THEY LIKE THE VISUAL. A HEARING PERSON WOULD LIKE MY WORK, BUT THEY DIDN'T KNOW IN REALITY IT'S NOT PERFECT MUSIC. IT'S NOT. INTERVIEWER: THEY GET THE FULL VERSION. YEAH. SO THEY DEAF PEOPLE MAY NOT PICK MUSIC. IF THEY DON'T HEAR HIGH FREQUENCIES AT ALL, THEY MAY FEEL THE BEAT AND STUFF. I DID THAT WITH A DRAMA CLUB HERE, AND THEY GET THE BEAT, AND THEY ENJOY IT, BUT THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT MUSIC IS. SOME MAY NOT. I'M NOT SAYING ALL OF THEM. THERE ARE A LOT OF DEAF WHO HAVE A HEARING ABILITY. THERE ARE DIFFERENT LEVELS THEY CAN PICK UP. I REMEMBER ONE DEAF STUDENT FROM DRAMA CLUB WHO LIKED ELECTRONIC MUSIC. THEY LIKED THE SWEET SOUND. THEY WOULD PICK UP HIGH FREQUENCIES. IT'S HARD IF YOU CAN'T PICK UP HIGH FREQUENCIES TO HEAR A SWEET SOUND ON A SYNTHESIZER. THAT'S INTERESTING. SO IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE LEVEL OF HEARING ABILITY IF THEY LIKE IT OR NOT. REALLY, IT'S UP TO THEM REALLY. I'M NOT TRYING TO BE A TOP 40 MUSICIAN OR POP, NO. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU EVER DO STRAIGHT POETRY WITHOUT MUSIC? OH, YEAH. I'VE DONE A LOT OF THOSE, YES. I HAVE A LOT OF POEMS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ELECTRONIC MUSIC. INTERVIEWER: SOMETIMES, DO YOU COMPOSE A FULL SET OF ONLY POETRY AND A FULL SET OF ONLY MUSIC? WELL...SOMETIMES, I'LL GO BACK AND FORTH AND SOMETIMES SEPARATE. LIKE "CYBORG DRAG QUEEN," THE POEM THAT JUST GOT PUBLISHED IN "EYES OF DESIRE," DEAF, HARD-OF-HEARING, GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER WRITERS, THAT WAS ENGLISH WRITTEN, TRANSLATED TO ASL. I HAVE ELECTRONIC MUSIC WITH THAT, BUT I HAVE NOT USED IT TO PERFORM IT. I'M NOT SATISFIED WITH IT, SO I HAVE PERFORMED THAT "CYBORG DRAG QUEEN" POEM WITH NO VOICE AND JUST PURE ASL STORYTELLING. SCI-FI, SET IN A FUTURISTIC NEW YORK CITY ABOUT A DRAG QUEEN-- OR REALLY AN ANDROID DOING THINGS WITH A COCHLEAR IMPLANT, KIND OF REVERSING [INDISTINCT]. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU THINK WHAT YOU DO WITH POETRY AND MUSIC AS PERFORMING ARTS? PERFORMING ARTS? I DON'T KNOW. GOOD QUESTION. I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF THAT. IS POETRY PERFORMING ARTS? WELL, YOU KNOW, LIKE, LAURIE ANDERSON I WAS TALKING ABOUT, SHE USED POETRY OR WRITING THAT SHE DID FOR THE MUSIC. IT WAS CALLED PERFORMING ARTS. I COULD SAY THAT IT'S PERFORMING ARTS. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS SHE DOESN'T SIGN. I DO. SHE KNOWS ASL. SHE STUDIED LINGUISTICS. LAURIE ANDERSON'S DONE THAT FOR Ph.D, MUSIC AND LINGUISTICS. SHE KNOWS SOME OF THAT, BUT SHE'S NOT FLUENT IN ASL, OF COURSE NOT. NOT HER FIRST LANGUAGE. SHE DIDN'T REALLY GET INTO INTERPRETING. SO MORE USING HANDS MORE THAN-- SHE'S JUST A VOICE. I PERFORM WITHOUT A VOICE. I DON'T KNOW. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU CONSIDER WHAT YOU DO TO BE STORYTELLING? YES, IN A WAY. MY "CYBORG DRAG QUEEN" HAS A POETIC FORM OR WRITING, BUT IT'S MORE A BALLAD THAN IT'S A STORY. IT SETS UP THE TIME, NEW YORK CITY IN THE FUTURE. SUPERCONDUCT CARS AND ALL THAT STUFF, BUT IT ALSO HAS POETIC WORDS IN IT TRANSLATED INTO ASL, AND IT ALSO HAS A CLEAR STATEMENT IN THE END, SO POETRY--IF IT'S JUST REALLY MEANT TO BE POETRY ALONE, IT'D BE POETRY. IT'D BE CONSIDERED POEMS. THERE'S A WRITTEN BALLAD, A LONG VERSE. IT A STORY SETUP. INTERVIEWER: I GUESS WHEN IT'S SIGNED, IMAGERY IS INCLUDED. IF YOU'RE SIGNING POETRY, DO YOU FEEL IT CAN BE DIFFERENT? IT CAN BE DIFFERENT, YEAH, BECAUSE POETRY IN ASL IS JUST MOSTLY PLAYING WITH WORDS. IT DOESN'T REALLY OFTEN SET UP A TIME AND DAY AND CONFLICT AND RESOLUTION LIKE THE STORY, AND A STORY HAS CONFLICT AND RESOLUTION, RIGHT? LIKE THIS THING, YOU KNOW? I LEARNED LITERATURE. I TAUGHT LITERATURE, SO I KNOW WHAT THAT IS, SO THERE'S THE DIFFERENCE. POETRY HAS METAPHORS. STORIES DO, BUT YOU FOCUS ON THE TIME WHEN WE'RE IN THE EXPOSITION, PHENOMENAL, THE MIDDLE, AND ESCALATION, AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION. IS THAT RIGHT? SOMETHING LIKE THAT, YEAH. INTERVIEWER: [INDISTINCT] I SAW YOU OFTEN IN THE AUDIENCE, JAZZ FAIR AUDIENCE. "YAY!" A FEW TIMES, I'D GIVE YOU A RIDE TO JAZZ FAIR. I DIDN'T HAVE A CAR AT THAT TIME, YEAH. INTERVIEWER: SO YOU WERE YOUNG, LIKE, 21? 21, 22, YEAH. INTERVIEWER: WHAT'D YOU THINK ABOUT YOU WERE SEEING? YEAH. THAT TIME, I WAS VERY EXCITED BECAUSE IT WAS PHENOMENAL BECAUSE I DIDN'T THINK THAT WOULD HAPPEN AT ALL IN MY LIFETIME, IN THAT TIME, AND WHEN THAT HAPPENED, IT WAS LIKE PUNK MOVEMENT AT THE TIME, EXPLOSION OF THE NEW THING. I GOT SO EXCITED, AND SO I KEPT GOING AND GOING, AND I ENDED UP PERFORMING THERE SOMETIMES. I DON'T KNOW. IT WAS JUST A GOOD GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SERIOUS POETS, PERFORMING ARTISTS, ACTORS, YOU KNOW, THERE TO NETWORK AND BE FRIENDS. I GOT TO KNOW PETER AND DEBBIE AND ALL THAT, AND IT THEY WERE JUST SO WONDERFUL TOGETHER. ALL THE PARTIES WE HAD AFTER WERE GREAT, SO... INTERVIEWER: THEY WERE. HOW DID YOU MEET JIM COHN? WELL, I SAW HIM AROUND ON CAMPUS. HE WAS AN INSTRUCTOR, AND HE WAS ALWAYS TEACHING OR INTERPRETING AND ALL THAT STUFF, AND THEN WHEN I REGISTERED ONE CLASS, A WRITING OR ENGLISH CLASS, WHATEVER-- I DON'T REMEMBER-- IT SAID, "TBA." DIDN'T KNOW WHO--IT TURNED OUT TO BE HIM, AND I MET HIM AND GOT TO HIM, AND HE WAS AN INSTRUCTOR, AND THAT'S HOW I GOT PULLED INTO JAZZ FAIR BECAUSE HE ASKED ME, LIKE-- BECAUSE HE NOTICED MY WRITING WAS VERY POETIC, AND HE SAW ME ATTENDING AND SEEING PETER PERFORM, AND HE ASKED ME. SO THAT'S HOW I MET HIM. INTERVIEWER: [INDISTINCT] FIRST ASL POETRY CONFERENCE. [INDISTINCT] DID IT TAKE PLACE IN THE PANARA THEATRE? INTERVIEWER: YES. YES. YEAH, I WENT TO SEE THAT. THE PANELIST DISCUSSION WITH ALAN MAY AND PETER COOK. VALLI. YEAH, I REMEMBER. THAT WAS GREAT, WONDERFUL. INTERVIEWER: IT WAS IN THE PANARA BUILDING. YEAH. I WAS IN THE AUDIENCE WATCHING IT. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU HAVE FAVORITE POETS? WELL, HEARING POETS-- PATTI SMITH OF COURSE. I REALLY LIKE PATTI SMITH. I ALSO LIKE, UM... HAD THAT ONE POEM-- I REALLY LIKE RIMBAUD, ARTHUR RIMBAUD, BAUDELAIRE, AND ROBERT BLAKE. I LOVE THEM. REALLY INFLUENCED PATTI, INFLUENCED ME. MAKES SENSE. THE STYLE, THE RADICALISM IN THE POEM. RIMBAUD WAS VERY RADICAL AT THE TIME. HIS WORK VERY EXPERIMENTAL. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU SEE IT IN HIS STYLE? THE STYLE, THE WORDS, THE PLAYING WITH WORDS. IT'S A ROCK OR A PUNK KIND OF AVANT-GARDISM. RIMBAUD WAS A VERY BIG INFLUENCE TO A LOT TODAY. DEAF POETS--I LOVE PETER COOK'S WORK. I'VE SEEN HIM SEVERAL TIMES. EVEN A FEW YEARS AGO, HE SHOWED UP AT U OF R. I STILL ENJOY HIS WORK A LOT, AND I LIKE DEBBIE RENNIE'S WORK. EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T WORK LIKE NOW, BUT BACK IN THE EIGHTIES, THERE WERE A LOT OF FUNNY THINGS. MOSTLY POLITICAL OR JUST TOUGH, SOME REAL HUMOROUS LIKE "I RAPE CHOCOLATE," WHICH IS--I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT POEM. SO FUNNY. HA HA! INTERVIEWER: HA HA HA! SO THOSE ARE TWO POETS I REALLY LIKE. CLAYTON VALLI--HIS STYLE ISN'T MY TASTE REALLY, BUT HIS MOVEMENT, THE LOCATION, ASL LOCATION WAS BEAUTIFULLY DONE, AND I DON'T KNOW. HIS IDEA OF, LIKE, THE 3 SEASONS--4 SEASONS, I JUST LOVE THAT. PAT GRAYBILL--I LOVE HIS WORK, ESPECIALLY THE SHUTTLE EXPLOSION AND KENNEDY OR WHATEVER. I LIKE THE LOCATION--UP THERE, DOWN HERE. IT JUST--AMAZING. INTERVIEWER: ELLA? YEAH. ELLA--I LIKE HER WORK. IT DOESN'T HIT ME MUCH REALLY, BUT ONE IS VERY HUMOROUS ABOUT THE CLASSROOM AND THE UFO. OOH, OOH, OOH! IT WAS REALLY FUNNY. I FORGOT THE NAME OF THAT POEM, BUT IT'S HILARIOUS. INTERVIEWER: SHE MOCKS THE TEACHER. RIGHT. AND SHE WOULD ROLL THE UFO LIKE THIS. I THINK THAT--I LIKE THAT SCI-FI ASPECT OF IT. THAT'S PRETTY MUCH LIKE MY "CYBORG DRAG QUEEN." I LOVE SCI-FI STUFF AND SCI-FI IMAGERY, CYBERNETIC PUNK THING, YOU KNOW? THAT'S WHAT I LIKE. IT WAS SO FUNNY, AND IT WAS ALSO SPACEY STUFF. I DON'T KNOW. I ENJOY THAT. THE FIRST PETER COOK, DEBBIE RENNIE, AND PAT GRAYBILL--GREAT. INTERVIEWER: DO YOU HAVE ONE THING YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE WORK OF EITHER PETER COOK OR DEBBIE RENNIE? OH. DEBBIE RENNIE-- I REALLY LIKED "I RAPE CHOCOLATE," YEAH. [INDISTINCT] NOT "BOYCOTT VEAL." OOH. PETER COOK--SO MANY OF THEM. LIKE, I CAN'T THINK OF ONE I LIKE, BUT-- INTERVIEWER: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE POEM? FAVORITE POEM? NOT REALLY. I LIKE "THE BALLAD OF A BAD BOY" BY PATTI SMITH. HER WRITING--CHANGED HERSELF TO A BOY DRIVING A CAR, WRECKING A CAR. IT'S REALLY INTERESTING, RIGHT? GAVE THAT--ASSIGNED IT TO STUDENTS FOR LITERATURE CLASS, AND THE STUDENTS WERE PUZZLED. IT'S REALLY FUNNY, AND IT'S A LITERARY TERM ABOUT A PERSON CHANGING INTO WHO THEY REALLY ARE. I CAN'T REMEMBER THE WORD, THE LITERARY WORD FOR THAT, BUT THAT WAS A NICE POEM, SO THERE'S A LOT OF THOSE POEMS, BUT I CAN'T PICK ONE REALLY. INTERVIEWER: JUST ANYTHING THAT COMES TO MIND. THAT PATTI SMITH POEM REALLY SHE SUNG IT, SHE SPOKE IT IN ONE OF HER SONGS IN THE BEGINNING OF THE "LIVE CONCERT" ON HER "EASTER" ALBUM, "I'M AN AMERICAN ARTIST, AND I HAVE NO GUILT." I LOVE THAT PHRASE. IT'S TRUE. SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED TO BE AN ARTIST. "I'M AN AMERICAN ARTIST, AND I HAVE NO GUILT." I LIKE THAT PHRASE. [INDISTINCT] I'M PLAYING WITH THE PAST AND FUTURE. YEAH. INTERVIEWER: HA HA HA! I WAS EXPECTING-- [INDISTINCT] INTERVIEWER: YEAH. YEAH. INTERVIEWER: YOUR VISUAL ART-- WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR VISUAL ART? WHEN I WAS TAKING ART HISTORY AS AN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT, I DISCOVERED MARCEL DUCHAMP, FRANCIS PICABIA, FUTURISTS, SURREALISM MOVEMENT. THEY WERE FOCUSED ON TECHNOLOGY AND AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY AT THAT TIME. NOT BE NOW--NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO-- I'M SURE THOSE ARTISTS WOULD BE FLIPPED OUT TO SEE WHAT THEY'D SEE NOW, AND I'M SURE THEY WOULD LOVE IT BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT REAL AT THAT TIME. THERE WAS NO SOCIAL COMPUTER AT THAT TIME, IN THE 1920s, 1900s, BUT THEY DID A LOT OF CINEMATIC EXPERIMENTATION WITH CINEMATIC THINGS, CINEMA, FILM, YOU KNOW. MARCEL DUCHAMP FOCUSED ON FOUND OBJECTS AND PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. THE ARTWORK BEHIND ME LIKE THAT, IT HAS PLEXIGLAS, PAINTED ON PLEXIGLAS, COMPUTER-GENERATED IMAGERY PRINTED OUT ON TRANSPARENT PAPER, PUT IT ON THE PLEXIGLAS, SEE THE LIGHT GO THROUGH IT. ATTACH BOLTS AND THEN DRILL IT INTO WOOD. THE PAINTING WILL INVOLVE AND A COMPUTER-GENERATED IMAGE OF THE SMOKESTACK. IF YOU DON'T NOTICE IT ALL BEHIND ME, BUT IT HAS A SMOKESTACK WITH SMOKE COMING OUT AND ALL THAT STUFF, AND MARCEL DUCHAMP DID THAT WITH "THE BACHELOR AND THE BRIDE" AND--I CAN'T REMEMBER, BUT IT'S A GLASS PIECE, A BIG PIECE OF WORK, WHICH I DIDN'T SEE IN REAL YET. I KNOW IT'S IN THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF FINE ART. I WANT TO GO THERE, BUT THAT'S A SIMILAR IDEA. THE ARTWORK BEHIND ME IS JUST PART OF IT. IT'S ONE CLOSEUP OF PLEXIGLAS WORK, BUT YOU CAN'T TELL IT'S PLEXIGLAS THERE BEHIND ME, BUT IT IS A HUGE PIECE OF WORK HUNG BY CHAIN AND LIT UP WITH BLACK LIGHT BEHIND. SO IT'S SLIGHTLY LIKE LAURIE ANDERSON AND [INDISTINCT], AND ALSO BACK HISTORICALLY, THE FUTURISTS, YEAH, MARCEL DUCHAMP, THAT KIND OF WORK. INTERVIEWER: TELL ME ABOUT-- OH. ISN'T YOUR WORK NOT CONCERNED WITH DEAF THEMES AND CULTURE IN THE WAY THAT SOME DEAF POETS LIKE ELLA, VALLI, DEBBIE SOME, PETER, PATRICK HAVE THEMES IN ASL POEMS? WELL, NOT TRUE. I HAVE POEM-- LIKE "CYBORG DRAG QUEEN" IS FOCUSED ON DEAF CULTURE. IT HAS THE COCHLEAR ISSUE. YEAH, AND I HAVE ONE POEM PUBLISHED SEVERAL YEARS AGO CALLED "BONES" ABOUT DEAFNESS, YOU KNOW, BONES, THE FRAGILITY OF 3 BONES AND THE COCHLEA PROBLEM AND HOW IT DIMINISHES THE SOUND, THE OCEAN WAVES, AND HOW MICRO SOFT IT IS AND HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS. I HAD ONE PUBLISHED--I CAN SEND YOU THAT. I HAVE SAVED MY FILE. SO I HAVE SEVERAL POEMS FOCUSED ON DEAF ISSUES, JUST NOT SO MANY BECAUSE I'M SO INTERESTED IN OTHER THINGS. I'M INTRESTED IN TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE FICTION THINGS AND STUFF LIKE THAT AND POLITICAL, SOCIAL ISSUES, BUT I DO HAVE SEVERAL DEAF ISSUES LIKE "CYBORG DRAG QUEEN" THAT ARE MIXED WITH TECHNOLOGY, THAT SCI-FI, THAT DEAF ISSUE OF COCHLEAR IMPLANTS. BUT THE OTHER ONE WAS ONLY JUST BONES AND NO MUSIC AND NO SCI-FI. IT'S JUST PURE ASL, WRITTEN ENGLISH A LITTLE BIT. INTERVIEWER: SO IF IT HAPPENS TO SPEAK TO ISSUES OF DEAFNESS-- OH, NOT ALL THE TIME. ONCE IN A WHILE. I DO WANT TO PORTRAY THE PROBLEM THAT PEOPLE FACE, SOME OF MY WORK TO HAVE STATEMENTS ABOUT, SO IT'S NOT-- I DON'T HAVE THOUSANDS OF POEMS ABOUT DEAFNESS ONLY. I HAVE OTHER THINGS, SO... INTERVIEWER: AND THEN [INDISTINCT]. WHAT IS POETRY? UM, WELL, POETRY IS PLAYING WITH WORDS IN ENGLISH SETTING. YOU'RE PLAYING WITH WORDS, AND YOU COME UP WITH METAPHORS, SIMILES, ALL THAT STUFF, PUT IT TOGETHER, TRY TO MAKE AN AESTHETIC QUALITY OF POETRY ITSELF AND HOW IT CAN BE PRESENTED IN SPOKEN VERSE. WHEN IT'S GONNA BE ASL, AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE POEM YOU CAN TRANSLATE FROM ENGLISH TO ASL TO TRY TO MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL IN ASL OR FROM SCRATCH ASL LINES THAT WERE VISUAL IMAGINATIONS IN THE HEAD, WHICH MANY DEAF PEOPLE DO THAT IN ART. DEAF PEOPLE DO THAT, WHICH IS FINE, AND GONNA BE APPROACHED IN A PERFORMING ARTS WAY. USE OF THE HAND AND MOTIONS OF THE HAND AND FACIAL EXPRESSION AND BODY LANGUAGE. NOT USE MY VOICE. IT'S MOSTLY FOCUSED ON... HAND SHAPE, CONSTANT HAND SHAPE AND LOCATION, CLASSIFIER, AND ASL LINGUISTIC CONCEPTS THAT CAN BE USED. POETRY IS DIFFERENT THAN JUST SIGNING ASL WHILE YOU'RE HAVING A CONVERSATION. POETRY IN ASL--ASL POETRY IS JUST-- YOU JUST PERFORM IT, AND IT'S SIMILAR TO HOW YOU PERFORM IN ENGLISH PHONETICALLY AND HOW-- LIKE, PATTI SMITH PLAYS HER VOICE WITH VOCAL ELEVATION AND EMPHASIS AND SHOUTS, THEN DOWN AND PLAYING WITH WORDS. WELL, THE SAME IN ASL. WE CAN EMPHASIZE WITH ONE PUNCH OR ONE HANDSHAKE OR JUST BE OPERATED IN A WAY THAT'S MORE CREATIVE THAN JUST SPOKEN WORDS OR CONVERSATIONAL ASL IN A HALLWAY. IT'S A DIFFERENT APPROACH. SO POETRY IS PLAYING WITH WORDS USUALLY. INTERVIEWER: SO DIFFERENT TECHNIQUE AND DIFFERENT VISUAL IMAGERY, HOW YOU PRODUCE, HOW ANALYZE, HOW YOU MAKE IT. POETRY IS PLAYING WITH WORDS AND PLAYING WITH WORDS AND PLAYING WITH HANDS WITH ASL, PLAYING WITH THE IMAGERY. POETRY HAS IMAGERY, BUT IT'S ENGLISH, PLAYING VOCALLY, AND IT'S PLAYING WITH WORDS. INTERVIEWER: GREAT! THANK YOU! - YOU'RE WELCOME. - THAT'S ALL I NEED. THANK YOU! THAT WAS GREAT. - THANKS! - YOU'RE WELCOME.
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
Other Title: 
Heart of the hydrogen jukebox