Deaf Republic, the new collection of poetry by Ilya Kaminsky, is striking on at least two counts, and possibly a third.
First, it is a story, a narrative “in two acts,” that uses the poetic form. The 59 poems are a collective whole, tightly connected to the point where it’s difficult to imagine any of them apart from their fellow poems. The poems work like a narrative thread, weaving together people and events into a coherent whole. The narrative’s two acts read almost like a play, and to emphasize that connection the work includes a
The second striking feature is what the story is about – a time of trouble in an occupied country, set in the town of Vasenka. The occupation might be from the political left or the political right; the orientation is not important. The occupying soldiers are present; the people are feeling a kind of suffocation. Freedom and citizens’ rights are no longer functioning words and ideas. A command is given; all the people obey, except for a child, a boy who is deaf.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.