Visiting Poet Ilya Kaminsky—Thursday, March 21

Visiting Poet Ilya Kaminsky—Thursday, March 21

Award-winning poet Ilya Kaminsky, celebrating his new book Deaf Republic, visits George Mason University on Thursday, March 21, at part of the Creative Writing Program’s Spring 2019 Visiting Writer Series, hosted for the first time this semester by George Mason University Libraries. 

Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and is now an American citizen. His first book, Dancing in Odessa, won the Tupelo Press Dorset Prize, and the Boston Review called it “a remarkable debut, one that affords a rare and exhilarating pleasure: the sense of being at the start of something marvelous.” Kaminsky is also the co-editor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. He was a 2014 finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and has received numerous honors, including a Whiting Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. More recently, he received Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kaminsky’s new book, Deaf Republic, released this month, opens in an unnamed country and with a startling scene. As the publisher explains, “When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear—in that moment, all have gone deaf. Inside this literal and metaphorical silence, their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story then follows the private lives of townspeople encirled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting their child; the brash Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theater; and Galya’s girls, heroically teaching signs by day and by night luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain.”

Kaminsky’s reading will take place on Thursday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Reading Room, Room 2001, Fenwick Library on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus. The reading is open to the public.

The Visiting Writer Series continues throughout the spring, with all readings in the Fenwick Reading Room:

  • Ed Roberson (Poetry)—Monday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jane Brox (Nonfiction)—Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.
  • Jamel Brinkley (Fiction)—Friday, April 12, 5 p.m.