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Poet Ilya Kaminsky to read Sept. 25-26

Ilya KaminskySeptember 2008—The popular Russian-born poet Ilya Kaminsky, who has been compared with the poets Joseph Brodsky and Czeslaw Milosz, will give two readings at Texas State Sept. 25-26.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, Kaminsky will read at 3:30 p.m. in the University Honors Coffee Forum, Lampasas 407. On Friday, Sept. 26, he will read at 7:30 p.m. at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, 508 Center Street, Kyle. Both events are free and open to the public.

More information about Kaminsky is available from his web site:
The 31-year-old Kaminsky, who is deaf, has developed a large following for his poetry, which he reads aloud passionately in the grand Russian tradition. He writes in both English and Russian, combining surrealism, fable, and humor. One reviewer wrote, “Because English is not his first language, because he is deaf, and because he is so passionate, Kaminsky reads so that each word resonates, shaking off connotations and shades of meaning as a wolfhound shakes off water. His voice will suddenly soar, at times break into a shout!--before settling back, slowly, at the close of stanza."

“Kaminsky is amazingly masterful, especially considering his youth and the facts that he is deaf and has been living in an English-speaking country for only 15 years,” said Texas State English Professor Paul Cohen. “He is also a lawyer and has done much work for the public good.”

Video of Kaminsky's readings at
Texas State will be posted after Sept. 26 at

Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union, in 1977, and arrived in the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. Kaminsky is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2004 by ForeWord Magazine.

Kaminsky's work in Russian was chosen for "Bunker Poetico" at the Venice Bienial Festival in Italy. In the late 1990s, he co-founded Poets for Peace, an organization that sponsors poetry readings in the United States and abroad with a goal of supporting such relief organizations as Doctors Without Borders and Survivors International.

Kaminsky has served as a Writer in Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and has taught poetry at numerous literary centers. He has also worked as a law clerk at the National Immigration Law Center and, more recently, at Bay Area Legal Aid, helping impoverished and homeless people in solving their legal problems.

Kaminsky teaches Contemporary World Poetry, Creative Writing, and Literary Translation in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at San Diego State University. More information about Kaminsky is available from his web site: