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Deaf Republic

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  3,265 ratings  ·  566 reviews
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
Paperback, 80 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Graywolf Press (first published 2011)
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Average rating 4.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,265 ratings  ·  566 reviews

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Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ambitious, intelligent parable about the ways we are complacent in the face of things we should be up in arms about. Very interesting, both in terms of content and craft.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At the trial of God, we will ask: why did you allow all this?
And the answer will be an echo: why did you allow all this?

What is the language of resistance? Deaf Republic, the much anticipated and long-awaited--fifteen years since his last collection Dancing in Odessa--new collection of poetry by Ilya Kaminsky addresses this question and many others across its haunting narrative. This book is incredible: an epic poem told in a series of contemporary, short-form poems (many of which are powerful o
David Schaafsma
Our country woke up the next morning and refused to hear soldiers.
In the name of Petya, we refuse.
At six a.m., when soldiers compliment girls in the alley, the girls slide by, pointing to their ears. At eight, the bakery door is shut in soldier Ivanoff’s face, though he’s their best customer. At ten, Momma Galya chalks No One Hears You on the gates of the soldiers’ barracks.
By eleven a.m., arrests begin.
Our hearing doesn’t weaken, but something silent in us strengthens.
In the ears of the to
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. I wish there were an infinite number of stars to give, because this is that kind of book. A must read if ever there was one.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I finished the book in one sitting, memories of my first life in a different country chasing Kaminsky’s brilliant pen like ghosts in the dark. If not the whole book, I beg everybody to read the last poem In a Time of Peace, at the very least.

I could quote the whole book. If you have a twitter account here’s a thread I posted while reading the book.
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply brilliant! This dark fable of a town under siege is a statement on our times. The people of the town become deaf after a soldier shoots a deaf child at a public gathering. The deafness here is purposeful, though, and a statement on how we can remain silent in the face of government atrocities and institutionalized biases. Tragic, yet filled with beauty, this is a powerful book of poetry.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you're one of those poetry-phobic readers (their numbers are legion), this would be a good gateway book. It opens with a Dramatic Personae and reads a bit like a play in two acts. Mostly free verse poems, but sometimes the plot is advanced with a bit of what's called "prose poetry."

The Republic in question is under fascist siege. Soldiers. Executions. The people rebel by pretending to no longer hear, which counts for something when your town is occupied and the soldiers have quartered in the
Hannah Fenster
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The linked poems in DEAF REPUBLIC glint like icicles against a stark background. The light source: a gentle, insistent humanity in the face of tragedy. In the space between sound and silence, action and inaction, the collection builds and re-builds kindness in unexpected, crucial ways. Like a sacred text, DEAF REPUBLIC offers new meanings each time I turn to it, and turn to it again. I’m convinced it holds a prayer inside it, or is a prayer itself.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Graywolf for th
Roshani Chokshi
One of my New Year's resolutions was to start reading more poetry. I've always loved it, and I've even written and published a couple poems myself, but I'd fallen out of the habit. This was one of the most interesting collections I've ever read. I don't know how to explain it, but once you finish, something inside you feels rearranged… I highly encourage you to check it out.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stuff
A boy is killed, the people react. A country is occupied, the people react.
These poems are filled with images of the townspeople as they act against the atrocities in their country, their town, their homes.
There's a feeling of courage and hope throughout. There's also a feeling of pain and sorrow. Always there's a feeling of humanity.
These are lovely poems. I cannot begin to analyze them as I know nothing about poetry. However, the emotions & feelings brought by these poems are ones of people
Julia Gaughan
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If there is a perfect book, it might be this one.
Tyler Barton
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whatever this is, it’s my new favorite genre of writing.

I can’t believe how much joy this book contains while making legible half a dozen absolute tragedies.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely astonishing.
Tom Mooney
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible from start to finish.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best book. Best. Expletive-worthy, breathless, wordless book.
Eric Anderson
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I’m so accustomed to reading novels I sometimes find it a challenge to get in the right mindset to read a book of poetry because my instinct is to look for a narrative. In a way, I didn’t have to adjust this instinct to read Ilya Kaminsky “Deaf Republic” because there’s a definite overarching story and the book even begins with a list of “dramatis personae”. It takes place in an unspecified village during an unspecified time period. The village has been occupied by military forces who publ ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"At the trial of God, we will ask: why did you allow this?
And the answer will be an echo: why did you allow this?"

From Deaf Republic: Poems by Ilya Kaminsky / 2019 by @graywolfpress

Kaminsky's second poetry collection investigates communication and language during traumatic times. Sixty poems of various lengths, tell the story of a town/republic where a deaf child is murdered by an occupying force, and how the citizens go silent, communicating with sign language as resistance.

Many of them poems
Carla Sofia Sofia
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
WOW. This blew me away. More to say, but currently stunned.
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Imi by: BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week (July 2019)
Wow, that was something else. I listened to BBC Radio 4's production of Deaf Republic while travelling today and ended up rewinding and relistening to parts over and over again. Utterly extraordinary. This radio adaptation was incredibly well-done (I'm sad it expires soon as I can't keep relistening), with multiple voice actors and, as far as I can tell, not abridged (usually, the abridger is listed in the show notes and there's not mention of that here). I was spellbound by this. It's a lyrical ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is exactly as good as people say it is.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I read this in silence; it is devastating.
Daniel Chaikin
A young boy is shot by soldiers and the sound causes the whole town to go deaf. There is a play on the tension of the sudden suspension of sound, making images linger and leaving a lot of filled empty space in a commentary on political terror.

This was my first poetry in a while, a gift from an LT friend. It's tough for me, feeling ever inadequate with poetry, trying to sense and get in tune with the language and open space around it. But it's a moving collection and I'm glad I read it and am no
Hannah Warren
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kaminsky's new Deaf Republic will shred you to pieces, all the while showing you how to build yourself back together. Read this book. Devour it. Watch how resistance works. See how dangerous it is. This book is beautifully haunting.

speaks to homeless dogs as if they are men,
speaks to men
as if they are men
and not just souls on crutches of bone."
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I honestly don’t have words for how amazing this poetry collection was. It was something special that I didn’t even know I needed at the moment but it hit me with such a force, the words spoke volumes ( ironically since it’s all about being deaf and silence) I can easily see this being on a very short list for poetry collection of the year come the fall. Please read this .
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Usually don’t like reviewing poetry books. But this shit spits fire
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetshere
I selected this prickly collection off the shelf at the public library only the day before it was closed for reasons of public health. I opened this book this morning because my other reading led me to the Fourth Crusade. That event always depresses the shit out of me. I read this sitting in an empty conference room, watching it rain and waiting for a conference call to begin. The sound we do not hear lifts the gulls off the water.The trope of silence as protest--and as violence truly resonated ...more
Dawn M. Deaner
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chautauqua selection for week 5 .

I opened it up to see what it was about and read until there wasn't any more..... Worth owning in paper.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning, powerful. Will be rereading this for some time to come.
Katherine Locke
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel in verse, really, and outstanding. Wow.
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Ilya Kaminsky is the Poetry Editor of Words Without Borders. His awards include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry magazine and first place in the National Russian Essay Contest. He is the author of Dancing In Odessa which won the Dorset Prize.

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“At the trial of God, we will ask: why did you allow all this?
And the answer will be an echo: why did you allow all this?”
What is a child?
A quiet between two bombardments.”
More quotes…