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Dancing in Odessa

by Ilya Kaminsky

Part of our Arc International Poets series

Surreal enough to be true, these poems waltz through encounters within families and without. The people depicted are in equal measure brutal and tender, in narratives that are strangely innocent, compelling and convincing. The poems draw on archetype and myth, as well as Russian literary figures, in tightly realised domestic settings that invigorate them with a contemporary relevance, with humour and torment, and, all the while, music.

Dancing in Odessa was published in the US by Tupelo Press in 2004 and 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 by Ilya Kaminsky tops the list because he is one of those rarest finds in this or any century, a writer who establishes what poetry can be.

The New York Times

Ilya Kaminsky's Dancing in Odessa has been showered with praise in America and one can see why. Writing in his second language his images explode before us like a set of linked fireworks. The result is a poignant, troubling yet joyful collection.

George Szirtes

With their intensely humane music, Ilya Kaminsky's poems sing with a real commitment to love, art and memory. His voice crackles with prophecy and his delicate orchestrations return the English language to us, a transformed thing. He is easily one of the best poets of my generation.

Sandeep Parmar

...a remarkable debut, one that affords a rare and exhilarating pleasure: the sense of being at the start of something marvelous.

Boston Review

A superb and vigorous imagination, a poetic talent of rare and beautiful proportions.

Anthony Hecht

978-1908376-12-1 pbk
978-1908376-13-8 hbk
Published April 2014

» About Ilya Kaminsky