Dr Clayton Valli died on 7 March, 2003. Dr Clayton Valli was the author of numerous articles and books on linguistics and on American Sign Language poetry. Dr Clayton Valli gave workshops and presentations across the country that raised awareness and appreciation for the movement, meter, and rhythm in ASL poetry. Dr Clayton Valli own poetic works, which have drawn international recognition for their aestheticism and contribution to literary scholarship, are available on video, taped both by him and by other ASL artists.
A frequent visitor and presenter in the Rochester area, Dr Clayton Valli gave several workshops on ASL poetry at the University of Rochester. Dr Clayton Valli also visited classes and was a keynote presenter at the Second National ASL Literature Conference, which was held at the University in 1996.
Dr Clayton Valli also made an impact in Canada, working at the Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton, Ontario. Dr Clayton Valli provided teacher training workshops in ASL poetry for the Ontario ASL Curriculum Team. Dr Clayton Valli helped to pioneer the worldwide movement to develop an ASL-as-a-first-language curriculum for Deaf children.
Dr Clayton Valli was born in Massachusetts and attended the Austine School for the Deaf in Vermont. Dr Clayton Valli attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he graduated with a B.A. in Social Psychology in 1978. In 1985, he received his M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University. Dr Clayton Valli’s Ph.D. in Linguistics and ASL Poetics from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio which he received in 1993 made him the first person ever to achieve a doctorate in ASL poetry. Dr Clayton Valli was also the 1st individual to identify the features of ASL poetry as a literature genre in its own right.
Dr Clayton Valli authored and co-authored many books about ASL linguistics and literature. Dr Clayton Valli was also a reviewer for the Ontario monograph Teacher Research in a Bilingual-Bicultural School for Deaf Students. But it is his craft as an ASL poet and his contribution to ASL literature for which he is most remembered. Dr Clayton Valli’s poems “Cow and Horse” and “Dandelions” are known and loved by Deaf children and adults across the continent.
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