Jabberwocky in American Sign Language is a clear winner

The Omaha World-Herald has reported some great news from Iowa where the national Poetry Out Loud competition at the Iowa School for the Deaf was won with a performance of Jabberwocky. First-time contestant Gabby Humlicek wowed the judges with her choice. “It was a really challenging poem to turn into American Sign Language,” Humlicek said. In rendering Carroll’s nonsense words Humlicek said it helped that “I’m a gregarious signer, and I practiced.” The newspaper reports that Gabby will go on to the state competition in De Moines this March – success there could lead to Washington D.C. and a bid for the national title. We wish her luck!

I couldn’t find an online video of Gabby’s performance, but for the curious I did manage to find another anonymous performance on YouTube. It’s fascinating to try and follow along with the poem. I am not sure what is happening 40 seconds in but I think it might be the frumious bandersnatch and, if so, it is pretty scary. It would be great if any readers of this blog who know ASL could offer us a commentary.


3 thoughts on “Jabberwocky in American Sign Language is a clear winner

  1. magnifica : proprio la stessa estensione del linguaggio poetico che si trasmette attraverso tutti i codici e non solo quelli linguistici, come ho scritto stamane per Abramovic e la poesia

  2. It is wonderful that more is being done with American Sign Language (ASL) and the Lewis Carroll stories! This video is a good and fun translation of Jabberwocky! The actor is explaining some of his signs and if you know a little ASL it is quite easy to follow. He fingerspells Jabberwock several times in the video then shows his sign for it which is claws and flaming eyes. Anytime you get anything having to do with ASL or sign language from other countries, then let me know!


    1. Thanks Ellie! If we hear of anything we will pass it on. Likewise, if you know of anyone else translating Carroll into sign language, we would love to hear about it.

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