Deaf Republic (Paperback)
Graywolf Press, 9781555978310, 80pp.
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Ilya Kaminsky’s astonishing parable in poems asks us, What is silence?
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—they 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 signing 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.
About the Author
Praise For Deaf Republic: Poems…
“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.”—NPR.org
“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.”—The Critical Flame
“A riveting and emotional story line with parallels to the author’s life, which relies on plain spoken diction, repetition, and small moments of romantic desire to anchor its larger political themes.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The product of 15 years of meditation, this chilling work—an important warning about the forces of repression and a quiet salute to the courage of the few who resist—heralds the maturity of an important voice in world poetry.”—Library Journal, starred review