N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 3 : S p e c i a l E d i t i o n
L o n g P o e m M a s t e r p i e c e s o f t h e P o s t b e a t s
FLYING WORDS PROJECT
Portrait of Flying Words Project members
Peter Cook (right) and Kenny Lerner (left)
by Nancy Roarke.
Wise Old Corn
[This video presentation of “Wise Old Corn” is used by permission of the authors.]
Flying Words Project is an American Sign Language (ASL) poetry troupe comprised of Deaf poet Peter Cook and hearing coauthor Kenny Lerner. Meeting in 1984, Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner were soon invited to perform and lecture at the first National Deaf Poetry Conference in 1987, in Rochester, NY. Their success was immediate. A partial list of Flying Words Project performances at various theaters, colleges, and poetry houses across the country include Manhattan Theater Club, NYC; Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NYC; Cleveland Performance Arts Festival; Harvard University, Boston; Walker Art Center, MN; Whitney Museum, NYC; Institute for Critical Thinking, Montclair College, NJ; as well as the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, CO Springs. Much of Flying Words' vitality is due to Peter Cook, the only Deaf poet to be featured on Bob Holman’s award winning 1996 PBS program celebrating the best of contemporary American poetry––The United States of Poetry. Kenny Lerner’s voicing provides the audio backdrop that tweaks the hearing audience's perception of the poem as it is signed.