Ilya Kaminsky’s long-awaited Deaf Republic is a contemporary epic. Evident throughout is a profound imagination, matched only by the poet’s ability to create a republic of conscience that is ultimately ours, too, and utterly his own—a map of what it means to live.
How is it that one poet can make the silence visible? How is that one poet can illustrate – and enlighten – our collective deafness? Deaf Republic is a remarkable book of poems from one of the great symphonic voices of our times. A deep bow.
In this extraordinary book-length narrative work, re-envisioning disability as power and silence as singing, Kaminsky has created a searing allegory precisely tuned to our times, a stark appeal to our collective conscience.
Stunning. . . . At once intimate and sensual but also poignant and timely.
Riveting and emotional.
The product of 15 years of meditation, this chilling work heralds the maturity of an important voice in world poetry.
Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic is a dramatic masterwork, a parable-in-poems that confronts the darkness of war with the blazing light.
I read Deaf Republic in one swoop, felled. Ilya Kaminsky’s poems quickened me in a way I returned to, waking, in the middle of the night.
What is silence? Something of the sky in us. Deaf Republic is changing my life.
It’s ‘we’ in Deaf Republic because we are all victims, victimizers and those who stand around and watch. And yet, there is so much love and lilt of morning.
Deaf Republic demonstrates that Kaminsky’s immense talent. It is a must-read for our turbulent times.
In Kaminsky’s lines, sound takes visible shape. The ordinary things of the world transmogrify, and a small detail, stripped down, takes on the weight of a country.
Deaf Republic a stunning and prescient drama, like the best books of Marquez and Kundera. Not many American poets, not many poets anywhere are engaged in this kind of work. I think that Deaf Republic will be a splendid, groundbreaking moment. Reading this book, my overwhelming sense is admiration and pleasure.
Pulse-quickening, glinting like unburied ore, Deaf Republic is a thunderclap book. American poetry needs what Ilya Kaminsky’s possibility-enlarging, boundlessly surprising pages bring to it.
Cutting-edge, sweeping drama
I read Deaf Republic with feverish excitement and deepening wonder. There is rage in these pages, urgency and force and also a great, redeeming beauty. Ilya Kaminsky’s lines buzz with a kind of electric freshness; reading them is like laying your hand on the live wire of poetry. He’s the most brilliant poet of his generation, one of the world’s few geniuses.
Aggrieved, inconsolable, and yet ecstatic, comic, and indefatigably in love with the world. Deaf Republic is a book of wonders.
This book has brought to the poetry world a kind of trembling, manic anticipation. . . Deaf Republic is a masterfully wrought collection.
Deaf Republic is a book of transcendence....[it] will be spoken about for years to come.
Deaf Republic does more than engage us as readers—it pulls us into the narrative and demands we see ourselves in Vasenka, as a member of the town with choices to make about how to respond to the power that surrounds us.
Deaf Republic is conscience, terror, silence, rage, made to coexist moments of tenderness, piercing beauty, empathic lyricism.
In the poetry world, Kaminsky’s second book has been wondered about second-act on par to Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. Why? The Ukrainian-born Kaminsky is a kind of walking IMDB of poetry, libraries of world’s verse and all their music live inside him. In ‘Deaf Republic,’ Kaminsky truly emerges and it’s a glorious thing to behold.
Kaminsky is and has always been a chronicler of humanity itself, an amplifier of all its music, heard and unheard. With this timely, occasionally terrifying, and perfectly structured book, Kaminsky proves something else: that he is also the clear heir to a magnificent tradition rooted in Odessa, his native city.
This is political writing at its best–not ideological or hectoring poster board invective but the sound of human anguish–read the poems, weep, and be shaken.
Deaf Republic left me with one of those ethereally haunting feelings (still lingering). It is indeed a ‘fable’ of poetically epic proportions.