Deaf Republic

Finalist, National Book Awards 2019 for Poetry

ISBN 9781555978310
Graywolf Press
Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and is now an American citizen. He is the author of Deaf Republic, a finalist for The Forward Prize for Best Collection, and Dancing in Odessa, and coeditor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear—all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting a 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. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea—Ilya Kaminsky’s long-awaited Deaf Republic confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.


Judges Citation

A theatrics of word and silence, Deaf Republic imagines a world which could very well be our own: a town is occupied, a deaf child is murdered, a collectivity forms in resistance. While there is dystopia—a narrative, plotting pace—Ilya Kaminsky never shies from the possibilities of lyric and collective upheaval. As imaginative as it is insurgent, Deaf Republic testifies to our silence, a silence that, already and still, “stands up for us.”