Meet our Inaugural Poetry Contest Judge, Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky
Ilya Kaminsky
was born in Odessa in 1977, and arrived in the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government.

Ilya 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. In 2008, Kaminsky was awarded the Lannan Foundation’s Literary Fellowship.

Poems from his new manuscript, Deaf Republic, were awarded Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize.

His anthology (co-edited, with Susan Harris) of 20th century poetry in translation, Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, was published by Harper Collins in March, 2010. Traveling Musicians (2007) is a selection of his poems originally written in Russian. He also edited and co-translated Polina Barskova’s This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press, 2010).

His poems have been translated into numerous languages and his books have been published in Holland, Russia, France, and Spain. Another translation is forthcoming in China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize.

Kaminsky has worked as a law clerk for San Francisco Legal Aid and the National Immigration Law Center, and has served as the editor of the online journal In Posse Review. Currently, he is Professor of Poetry and Director of the Creative Writing Program at San Diego State University, where he is also editor in chief of Poetry International and the poetry editor of Words Without Borders.


Congratulations to Ilya for his well-deserved nomination for the 23rd Biennial Neustadt International Prize for Literature!

From their announcement:

Kaminsky is the first Ukrainian-born author to be nominated for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His verse collection Dancing in Odessa won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts & Letters Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, Poetry magazine’s Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and was named 2004’s Best Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. Kaminsky’s latest manuscript, Deaf Republic, also won Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize. Kaminsky is nominated by Lauren Camp, and his representative work is Dancing in Odessa.