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Second signing: return of the Bristol sign poetry festival

Kabir Kapoor signing his BSL poem 'Evolution' at Bristol Deaf Club

Kabir Kapoor signing his BSL poem 'Evolution' at Bristol Deaf Club Martin Haswell

22 February 2011

The second highly successful annual Bristol sign poetry festival, featuring poets Richard Carter, Kabir Kapoor and Donna Williams, took place on 19-20 February.

On Saturday, Deaf people from around the country took part in a poetry composition workshop, led by three established Deaf poets, working with the theme ‘What does Bristol University mean to me?’. In the evening, they joined the poets (Richard Carter, Kabir Kapoor and Donna Williams) in a sell-out performance of new signed poetry at Bristol Deaf Club. 

On Sunday, participants and poets were joined by the haiku poet Alan Summers, who worked with them to compose and perform the first tanka and sedounka ever seen in British Sign Language (BSL). Poems from the workshops and evening performances will shortly be uploaded to the developing anthology of BSL poetry at

Rachel Sutton-Spence, Reader in Deaf Studies at the Graduate School of Education and one of the organisers of the festival, said: 'It was a weekend of hard work, immense creativity and a good deal of fun. Many of the participants had never composed their own signed poems before arriving at Saturday's workshop, but by the evening they were performing to over 200 people. The performances were testament to their abilities and the skills of their workshop leaders.'

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