Acclaimed Russian poet visits Washburn

I have a question: Ilya Kaminsky answers a question at his poetry reading. This event was split between the International House and Henderson 112. 

Alyssa Storm, Washburn Review Editor in Chief

Poet without Borders was an event that answered political and cultural questions which the people of Washburn University asked a man who lived through more than other authors.

Ilya Kaminsky, a deaf poet, had a globe spanning conversation that was open to the public at 2:30 p.m. Monday Sept. 9 at the International House. In Kaminsky’s new book, “Deaf Republic”, he writes about the life of a family through war. His knowledge extended to political ideals that he has. At age 16 Kaminsky moved to the United States with his family from Soviet Russia in 1997. His first published piece was “Dancing In Odessa” which was published in 2004. From there he became more awarded, accredited and knowledgeable about global and economic topics. Winning awards from 2001 up until 2018, with the possibility of winning more, he has more than enough of a suitable following, not only from his fans, but also from his peers.

He was asked many questions about politics, authors and Russia vs. the United States in a number of territories. His take on the refugee crisis in America today was summed up as, nobody will step up and take responsibility for the environmental and economic crisis, which is the root cause of all of these issues.

“If somebody else is making money, that means somebody else is suffering.” said Kaminsky.

Kaminsky also believes that the “fairytale of nationalism” is falling apart. Kaminsky said totalitarian governments will instantly blame other countries instead of trying to create economic justice. When answering questions regarding poetry, Kaminsky was equally as knowledgable. Poetry can be a form of activism and the language of it can survive, grow and enrich spiritual lives. When Kaminsky’s father died, he wanted to honor him with his talents, but he didn’t want to upset his family. English was the “private language” that he wrote in to get him through. Kaminsky is influenced by poets like Shakespeare, who inspire him deeply. Writing Russian poetry is more formal, but shorter than the American style.

“What kind of person are you if you don’t believe in ideas?” was the last statement Kaminsky made. He held a reading of his new poems from his book “Deaf Republic” at 4 p.m. the same day in Henderson 112.

“Deaf Republic” is a collection of poems that discuss the life of a pregnant woman and her husband while they are living through a war and their love. Kaminsky read a few poems from “Deaf Republic” that seemed to have an impact on the audience. The book will be available to purchase from the Ichabod Shop as well.

His poetry and personal story has impacted people for decades, Ilya Kaminsky’s fame hasn’t taken him away from his true voice and vision.

Edited by Adam White, Jessica Galvin