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Deaf Literature - Poetry by Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

Expressing Deep Thoughts on Life With Hearing Loss

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Updated February 13, 2011

Hearing loss can stir up some pretty strong feelings. The arts offer an outlet for those feelings. One popular medium for expressing feelings about deafness and hearing loss is poetry.

When I was in elementary school and we were learning about poetry, we were asked to write a poem about something we knew about. My first feeble attempt at a poem was titled "The Deaf Ear." As the title suggests, it was about what it was like to not be able to hear and understand people.

Fortunately, there are other, better poems about deafness by people with hearing loss available for your reading pleasure. Some of these poems are classics reproduced on the web; others are new homegrown efforts. A few books collecting deaf poetry have even been published.

Classics

  • You have to be deaf to understand - Few poems about deafness can surpass this 1971 classic by Willard Madsen for how well it expresses what it means to be deaf.
  • Thoughts of a Deaf Child - The last line of this modern classic will stay with you forever. It is still true even today.
  • Deaf - This modern classic would have been better titled "Left Out," as it expresses what it feels like to be left out when around hearing people.

Books

  • Raymond Luczak is a deaf poet who has published a handful of books of his poetry:
  • "On His Deafness" - This tome collects poems about deafness by Robert Panara, a well-known deaf educator. (compare prices)
  • Sounds of the Soul - This anthology collects poems by deaf Canadians and is available through the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf bookstore.

Showcases

  • Literary Corner - On the About Deafness site, there is a literary corner that showcases poetry and stories about hearing loss by About visitors. Submissions are always welcome!
  • The Tactile Mind was a literary magazine that published poetry by deaf people.
  • Student Poetry - The World Around You magazine, formerly published by Gallaudet University's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, had frequently published poetry by deaf teens.
More Suggested Reading
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Deafness
  4. Deaf Culture and History
  5. Deaf Literature
  6. Deaf Poetry - Poetry by Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

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