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Labelled with ICRA

Since 1979 logo

book cover

6 X 9 inches, 72 pages
26 hand drawings

ISBN 1894131002

More about this item:


poems & drawings

Aidan Baker

Penumbra Press Poetry Series, No. 46

EROS AND SORROW MEET in this verse meditation on the obstacles and allure of an inter-sensual romance. Fingerspelling is the story of a man who becomes romantically involved with a hearing impaired woman. It tells of his attempts to understand his own feelings for her, and how her disability affects her relations with others, the world, and himself.

Essentially, Fingerspelling is about communication—basic verbal communcation, communication between the sexes, and the physical communication of the body. As the main character comes to learn more about this woman, how she receives and absorbs sensory input from the world and those in it, his conceptions about words, writing, and language are reconfigured, as are his notions of physicality, sensuality, and sexuality.

The subject of the inter-cultural or inter-lingual romance has been addressed before—the difficulties of forming a true connection between two people who do not share the same language. Fingerspelling takes this a step further; it is an inter-sensual romance, so to speak: it considers the difficulties of a couple who do not share the same powers of perception. In an effort to further his comprehension of how this woman perceives, the main character teaches himself one-hand fingerspelling, the hand signals for the 26 letters of the alphabet (drawings of which accompany the text), but in many ways this makes the relationship only more complicated.

"Would you like to go to the movies? you ask me and I thrill
at the thought, and because you're the one asking me,
but then I pause;

"To the movies? I repeat
and you nod. "But
how ... how do you follow them?"

"I watch," you say. "I just watch, and
I can read their lips, most of the time."

"You don't miss the plot?"

You shrug:
It doesn't

from M


Aidan Baker

Author, Illustrator

A writer and musician currently living in Toronto, Aidan Baker is a graduate from McGill University in Literature and Religious Studies and from the Humber College School for Writers. His poetry and prose have been published internationally in various literary and scholarly journals. He is the author of a poetry chapbook, The Adventures of Me & You (Eraserhead Press), and a CD of solo guitar music, Element.

Aidan Baker - Writer & Musician

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