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Deaf Republic

Deaf Republic

ISBN
9780571351411
Published
20/06/2019
9780571351411
Format
Paperback
Price
£10.99
Paperback
96

About the Book

BBC Radio 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
FORWARD PRIZE 2019 SHORTLIST
POETRY BOOK SOCIETY CHOICE 2019

The long-awaited new collection from Ilya Kaminsky: a remarkable parable in poems which asks us, what is silence?


Deaf Republic opens in a time of political unrest in an occupied territory. It is uncertain where we are or when, in what country or during what conflict, but we come to recognise that these events are also happening here, right now. This astonishing parable in poems unfolds episodically like a play, its powerful narrative provoked by a tragic opening scene: when soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear – in that moment, all have gone deaf. Inside this silence, their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story then follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting their child; the daring Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theatre; and Galya’s puppeteers, covertly teaching signs by day and by night heroically luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, Deaf Republic confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.

BBC Radio 4 BOOK OF THE WEEKFORWARD PRIZE 2019 SHORTLISTPOETRY BOOK SOCIETY CHOICE 2019The long-awaited new collection from Ilya Kaminsky: a remarkable parable in poems which asks us, what is silence?Deaf Republic opens in a time of political unrest in an occupied territory. It is uncertain where we are or when, in what country or during what conflict, but we come to recognise that these events are also happening here, right now. This astonishing parable in poems unfolds episodically like a play, its powerful narrative provoked by a tragic opening scene: when soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear – in that moment, all have gone deaf. Inside this silence, their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story then follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting their child; the daring Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theatre; and Galya’s puppeteers, covertly teaching signs by day and by night heroically luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, Deaf Republic confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.
  • Ilya Kaminsky

    Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and is now an American citizen. He is the author of a previous poetry collection, Dancing in Odessa, and coeditor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. He has received a Whiting Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was named a finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

“‘Deaf Republic is conscience, terror, silence, rage, made to coexist moments of tenderness, piercing beauty, empathic lyricism.’”
- Tracy K. Smith
“‘Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic is evidence of a profound imagination, a capacious critical intellect, and a brilliant heart-on-fire … A dream book for any and every citizen.’”
- Li-Young Lee