Full of Books

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky Review

Title: Deaf Republic

Author: Ilya Kaminsky

First published March 5, 2019

80 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781555978310 (ISBN10: 1555978312)

Rating: 4.43


Ilya Kaminsky’s remarkable collection of poems, Deaf Republic, delves into the meaning of silence in a nation grappling with political turmoil. The story follows the lives of a married couple, Sonya and Alfonso, as well as Momma Galya and her daughters, in a town that has gone deaf after a young boy was shot and killed during a protest.

With sign language as their only means of communication, the citizens of the town band together to resist the oppressive forces controlling them. Through poetic prose, Kaminsky weaves a tale of love, loss, and the power of resistance in the face of violence and injustice.

A finalist for the T.S. Eliot Prize, Deaf Republic is a poignant and urgent call to break the silence and confront the atrocities of our time.

About the Author

Meet Ilya Kaminsky, the talented Poetry Editor of Words Without Borders. He has earned many accolades, including a coveted Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine and even won first place in the National Russian Essay Contest.

Ilya is also the proud author of the critically acclaimed book, Dancing in Odessa, which took home the prestigious Dorset Prize.

Editoral Review

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky is a profoundly moving work of poetry that explores the power of language and resistance in times of political oppression. Kaminsky, himself a deaf poet, has created a haunting fable that speaks to the universal human experience of struggle, love, and hope.

The book was first published on March 5, 2019, and has been regarded as one of the most important works of poetry in recent times. The book is set in an imaginary town, where the deaf community has decided to stage a revolution after the death of a young boy at the hands of the military.

The people of the town refuse to speak, communicating instead through sign language, as a way to resist the authority that seeks to suppress them. This simple act of defiance sets the stage for a powerful and emotional journey that explores the limits of human courage and compassion.

The characters in Deaf Republic are vividly portrayed, with their struggles and triumphs woven into the fabric of the book’s beautiful prose. Kaminsky’s writing is lyrical and poignant, drawing the reader in with every word.

He deftly handles themes of oppression, love, and resistance, creating a work that is both timely and timeless. The book is also an excellent example of the power of poetry to tell stories that are both deeply personal and highly relevant to contemporary issues.

One of the strengths of Deaf Republic is its pacing. The novel reads like a series of interconnected poems, each one building on the previous one to create a narrative that is both seamless and compelling.

The characters are developed slowly over the course of the book, allowing the reader to empathize with their struggles and understand their motivations. The book’s structure is also highly effective, with each chapter adding new layers of meaning to the story.

Another strength of the book is its historical and cultural significance. Kaminsky is a Russian-born poet who immigrated to the United States as a child.

Deaf Republic is loosely based on the events of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the book is a powerful testament to the power of resistance in times of political oppression. However, the themes of the book are universal and speak to the human experience across cultures and borders.

Overall, Deaf Republic is a masterpiece of contemporary poetry. Kaminsky’s writing is beautiful and insightful, and the book is highly recommended to anyone interested in exploring the power of language and resistance.

The book’s flaws are few and far between, and they are overshadowed by the book’s many strengths. The book is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry, literature, or simply great storytelling.

5/5 stars.