Ilya Kaminsky

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Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky Reads War Poetry in San Diego.jpg
in San Diego, 2011, by Patty Mooney
Born (1977-04-11) April 11, 1977 (age 37)
Odessa
Language English
Nationality Russian
Citizenship American
Alma mater Georgetown University;
University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Genre Poetry

Ilya Kaminsky (born April 18, 1977 in Odessa, Soviet Union, now Ukraine) is a Ukrainian born Russian-Jewish-American poet, critic, translator and professor. He began to write poetry seriously as a teenager in Odessa, publishing a chapbook in Russian entitled The Blessed City.[1] His first published poetry collection in English was a chapbook, Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). His second collection in English, Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004), earned him a 2005 Whiting Writers' Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Metcalf Award, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and the Dorset Prize, and was named the 2005 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year in Poetry. In 2008, he was awarded a Lannan Literary Fellowship.[2] His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The Kenyon Review,[3] New Republic, Harvard Review, Poetry.[4]

Dancing in Odessa and its chapbook forbear, Musica Humana, have earned Kaminsky superlative praise from reviewers and prominent poets. The Philadelphia Enquirer wrote, "Like Joseph Brodsky before him, Kaminsky is a terrifyingly good poet, another poet from the former U.S.S.R. who, having adopted English, has come to put us native speakers to shame."[5] Jane Hirshfield wrote, "Inventiveness of language, the investigative passion, praises, lamentation, and a proper sense of the ridiculous are omnipresent. Kaminsky’s poems are wholly local yet unprovincial, intimate yet free of ego. This first full-length book is a breathtaking debut."[6]

Carolyn Forché wrote,

Kaminsky is more than a promising young poet; he is a poet of promise fulfilled. I am in awe of his gifts.[7]

Kaminsky is particularly well known for his passionate, almost ecstatic reading style.

Life[edit]

Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union (now Ukraine), on April 18, 1977. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "Kaminsky lost most of his hearing at age 4. He lost his homeland at age 16, when family sought political asylum."[8] At the time, he spoke no English, and continued to write in Russian while learning English.[9]

Kaminsky earned his Bachelor of Arts at Georgetown University, and went on to receive his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He has been invited to teach and read poetry at literary centers, colleges and universities from Harvard to Naropa. He has also worked as a Law Clerk at the National Immigration Law Center, and more recently, at Bay Area Legal Aid, helping the poor and homeless to solve their legal difficulties. He currently teaches in the graduate creative writing program at San Diego State University, and lives in San Diego with his wife, Katie Farris.[4][10]

Honors and awards[edit]

Published works[edit]

Full-Length Poetry Collections

Chapbooks

Editor

  • "Ecco Anthology of International Poetry" (Harper Collins, 2010)

Reviews[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]