Author: Ilya Kaminsky
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Staff Pick: "Deaf Republic contends for poetry collection of the twenty-first century let alone the year. It is an epic poem made up of sixty or so lyrical gems that carve a narrative arc of incredible power. Deaf Republic is set in the fictional war zone Vasenka where the townspeople use deafness as a method of resistance to military occupation after subsequent extreme violence against them. In a world of unending information and misinformation, corrupt media and deceitful leaders it seems more critical than ever that people can resist hearing whilst acknowledging the speaker’s presence as an act of resistance. Kaminsky asks us to ‘Observe this moment —how it convulses—’, in this way the poems become increasingly essential with close and repeated readings. Kaminsky states that he ‘followed the century with his eyes’ until he arrived in the US aged 16 when he was granted hearing aids - the timelessness of this collection firmly cements it as a modern great that any reader will be returning to for years to come."