Tuesday, April 11, 2017

American Poet, Deaf Education Pioneer Honored with Stamp

This morning, Robert Panara (1920-2014) became the 16th inductee into the U.S. Postal Service’s Distinguished American stamp series on a Forever stamp. The ceremony is going on as I write this.

Panara, a native New Yorker, lost his hearing after contracting spinal meningitis as a child. He became a renowned scholar in the field of deaf studies, as well as a poet. He taught at Gallaudet College (now known as Gallaudet University) and the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he helped found the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID).

“In creating this stamp, our goal was to communicate Robert Panara’s love and enthusiasm for literature, poetry and theatrical pieces as he used American Sign Language to make each topic more dramatic and enlightening," said U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David Williams. "Poetry and drama came to life through his unique style of expression, Robert was famous for his ability to establish an immediate rapport with his students, through fluid, eloquent sign language which many described as ‘sculptures in the air’.” 

He wrote poetry and in 1997 his book of poetry, "On His Deafness and Other Melodies Unheard" was published. Panara also translated several plays into sign language and was one of the founders of the Waterford, Connecticut-based National Theatre of the Deaf, which provided deaf actors with a venue for thriving in the performing arts. At NTID, he founded the Drama Club, and today's stamp dedication took place there at a theater named for Panara.

The Robert Panara stamp is a Forever 2-ounce stamp, which means that it can be used to mail a letter that weighs 2 ounces, which has a current price of 70 cents. You can also order framed artwork, ceremony program, digital color postmark and other philatelic products featuring the Panara stamp.

So, in this month that is known as both National Card and Letter Writing Month and National Poetry Month, we can send letters bearing stamps honoring American poet Robert Panara.

1 comment:

Limner said...

I almost ordered those. Perhaps I will. Soon.

He reminds me of Alan Alda. :)

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