Category Archives: Literature

Poets to Come by Walt Whitman, ASL Translation by Ruth Anna

  • Poets to Come by Walt Whitman, ASL Translation by Ruth Anna

Poets to Come

POETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,
But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than
before known,
Arouse! for you must justify me.

I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,
I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a
casual look upon you and then averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.

The Farewell by John Greenleaf Whittier

  • The Farewell by John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the Fireside Poets, Whittier was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns.

From Ruth Anna:
The story of this poem breaks my heart.

Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant

  • Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant

"Thanatopsis" remains a milestone in American literary history.  It was republished in 1821 as the lead poem of Thanatopsis and Other Poems, which was considered by many to be the first major book of American poetry.

From Ruth Anna:
Also known as "the poem of death." A lot of natural imagery in this, which made it interesting/challenging to render into ASL.

This World is Not Conclusion

  • This World is Not Conclusion

Ruth Anna translates literature into her native American Sign Language.

From Ruth Anna:
I read. A lot.
And I write, too.
But I also enjoy translation.
More specifically, translating literature into American Sign Language, which is my native language.
Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, you name it.
These videos are my experiments in translating from a print language to a visual language.
Any translator will tell you that the task of translation is an exhilaratingly challenging one, and as a translator, you are never satisfied with what you've done. You always see a different way that you could do it, and I'm no exception.
Some of my translations I like, but others I want to redo someday. I'm always tinkering with them.
For now, though, here they are: my imperfect, thoughtful, and sometimes silly attempts at translation.