Poet Ilya Kaminsky to read at Spiva Library

“If I speak for the dead, I must leave / this animal of my body, / I must write the same poem over and over, / for the empty page is a white flag of their surrender.”  These words come from the poem “Author’s Prayer” by Ilya Kaminsky.

Kaminsky, an award-winning poet, will be reading from his work on Thursday, April 28, in Spiva Library, room 214, at 7 p.m.  Kaminsky will be reading his work for the annual Saltzman Series for Visiting Writers at Missouri Southern.

“If I speak of them, I must walk on the edge / of myself, I must live as a blind man / who runs through the rooms without / touching the furniture.” (Kaminsky in “Author’s Prayer”)

Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union (now Ukraine), in 1977.  He and his family were granted asylum by the United States when they arrived in 1993.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Georgetown University and earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

Kaminsky authored Dancing in Odessa which won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship and was named Best Poetry Book of the Year in 2004 by ForeWord Magazine.    

In the 1990s Kaminsky co-founded Poets For Peace, an organization that sponsors poetry readings around the world in support of relief organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.  He also currently teaches Contemporary World Poetry, Creative Writing, and Literary Translation in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Sand Diego State University.