Raymond Luczak

Ever since Raymond Luczak edited the world’s first book devoted to the topic of the Deaf LGBTQ+ community (Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay & Lesbian Reader, Alyson Books, 1993), he’s always been interested in how textual language can reveal something more about the Deaf experience. That’s why, in that particular anthology, he chose to include samples of actual TTY conversations and ASL English. These days, however, he has become interested in how a sense of ASL can be conveyed within the limitations of English itself by using gloss. As he wrote in a piece for Poetry magazine (“Forbidden Fruits in Our Hands,” poetryfoundation.org, published 17 June 2019): 

"ASL gloss is simply using English words and ASL idioms in the ASL sign order. Just to be clear: there is no standardized ASL gloss system at all. I don’t think it’s possible to convey even a fraction of all the rich nuances of an ASL sentence on paper. For instance, there are no mentions of facial expressions (i.e., emotional inflections), the location for each person (or animal) referenced in the signing space, the spatial relationships between these people, the sign dialects (e.g., Deaf people in Minnesota sign 'favorite' differently than anywhere else in America), and so on. On an intuitive level, ASL makes perfect sense to me, but it may seem inscrutable to most non-signers. ASL is incredibly complex, so the ASL gloss in my work is extremely sparse."

That’s where Luczak is right now as a poet: exploring the divide between ASL and English.

Web: www.raymondluczak.com
FB: facebook.com/raymondsbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/deafwoof