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15:5 Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Forgotten Poet

A New Volume Presents the Work of a Writer Internationally Known During the Time of the Early Deaf American Community

In Mrs. Sigourney of Hartford: Poems and Prose on the Early American Deaf Community, editors Edna Edith Sayers and Diana Moore introduce to some and present to others the writings of Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney. Born in 1791 in Hartford, Connecticut, Mrs. Sigourney (pronounced “SIG er nee”) was an internationally known poet, the author of fifty-six books, and some two thousand magazine articles. This new collection of her poems and prose focuses on Sigourney’s experience in the nascent American Deaf community.

Not only was Sigourney a noted poet, she was also a supporter of nearly every progressive cause known to the age, including deaf education, a new idea in antebellum America. She believed fervently in education for girls; she was an abolitionist; and in other progressive endeavors—advocacy for disabled veterans, Irish immigrants, the elderly, American Indians, and prisoners—Sigourney was so far ahead of her time “that history has not yet spotted her efforts,” note Sayers and Moore.

Regarding her works, “that they are forgotten today is perhaps less surprising. Known to contemporaries as the ‘Sweet Singer of Hartford,’ Mrs. Sigourney belonged to the vast nineteenth-century literary movement called sentimentalism, which produced a type of literature not greatly appreciated today by cultivated readers, although it still thrives in film and popular music as well as in advertising and fund-raising appeals. And she was most famous for her obituary poems, a genre associated today only with amateur efforts in small-town weeklies. Nevertheless, her poems and prose sketches were of a piece with her social activism and a means by which, in the words of Mark David Hall, she ‘actively promulgated a well thought out vision of society and politics.’”

Read excerpts of Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney’s writings here, and receive 20% off when you order Mrs. Sigourney of Hartford today. For online orders, type “MAY2013” in the box labeled “use promo code.” Order by mail here.


In a recent review, Reference & Research Book News boasts that Outcasts and Angels: The New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature  is “a must-have book for deaf studies. While it has obvious uses in cultural and minority studies in general, this book is also an important one for any teacher seeking diverse and skillful short work for classes in English literature, creative writing, or composition; new literary anthologies with this mix of work by famous authors and skilled work by new and less-known authors are becoming rare, due to the increasing cost and difficulty of obtaining permissions.” In this new collection, Edna Edith Sayers reveals the changes in the portrayals of deaf people in print since Trent Batson and Eugene Bergman released their classic Angels and Outcasts: An Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature in 1976. Read a story from Outcasts and Angels here, and order Outcasts and Angels online or by mail.


The Midwest Book Review made this observation about Deaf-Blind Reality: Living the Life: “It is especially notable as a solid addition to the literature because competing titles often focus on singular achievements, not the overall bigger picture of living in a different world.” In Deaf-Blind Reality, editor Scott M. Stoffell explores what life is really like for persons with both vision and hearing loss through interviews with 12 deaf-blind individuals who offer genuine understanding of the unspectacular, but altogether daunting challenges of their daily lives. Read chapter nine, “Daily Life,” to see directly into the minds of these individuals and learn what they think and feel in various real-life situations. Order your copy of Deaf-Blind Reality by mail or online now.


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