University of Rochester

ASL Program Cosponsors Tribute to Renowned Deaf Poet

May 5, 2003

Groups and individuals in the local deaf community, including the American Sign Language (ASL) Program at the University, are sponsoring a tribute to renowned deaf poet Clayton Valli, who died in March.

Valli was the author of numerous articles and books on linguistics and on ASL poetry. He gave workshops and presentations across the country that raised awareness and appreciation for the movement, meter, and rhythm in ASL poetry. His own poetic works, which have drawn international recognition for their aestheticism and contribution to literary scholarship, are available on video, taped both by him and by other ASL artists.

A frequent visitor and presenter in the Rochester area, Valli gave several workshops on ASL poetry at the University of Rochester. He also visited classes and was a keynote presenter at the Second National ASL Literature Conference, which was held at the University in 1996.

Ted Supalla, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences and of linguistics and director of the ASL Program at Rochester, will give a multimedia presentation of Valli's ASL poetry during the local tribute. ASL instructor Nowell Busch will describe the creation of Valli's famous poem "Cow and Rooster" and will share personal anecdotes about Valli. The event will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, May 19, in the Panara Theatre at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Deirdre Schlehofer,

Valli was born deaf in Seabrook, N.H., and studied photography at NTID and psychology at the University of Nevada-Reno. He received a master's degree in linguistics from Gallaudet University and a doctorate in linguistics and American Sign Language (ASL) poetry from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. He taught for several years in Gallaudet's Department of Linguistics and Interpreting and was a consultant on ASL linguistics and poetry.