The Guardian has published a lovely profile of Ilya Kaminsky, related to Deaf Republic, his second collection of poetry.
Odessa was a cosmopolitan place, a “city of laughter” in which poetry was revered, and from an early age Kaminsky wrote and learned it by heart. When he was 12 his prose writing was published in the local newspaper, after he answered a call-out to schoolchildren to contribute, because the paper had no money to pay journalists. At 15, though he thought of poetry as “a private thing”, he produced his first chapbook. He had graduated from school by the time the family was forced into exile.
An excerpt in the Guardian of Peter Pomerantsev’s new book, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality.
It was 1976, in Odessa, Soviet Ukraine, and my father, Igor, a writer and poet, had been detained for “distributing copies of harmful literature to friends and acquaintances”: books censored for telling the truth about the Soviet Gulag (Solzhenitsyn) or for being written by exiles (Nabokov). He was threatened with seven years’ prison and five in exile. One after another, his friends were called in to confess whether he had ever spoken “anti-Soviet fabrications of a defamatory nature, such as that creative people cannot realise their potential in the USSR”.
The book comes out on August 6, 2019, from PublicAffairs.