Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the widely acclaimed Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry. Poems from Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize and the Pushcart Prize. He is also the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004), and Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). Kaminsky has won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and the Foreword Magazine’s Best Poetry Book of the Year award, and was shortlisted for the Neusdadt International Literature Prize.
He is the editor of several anthologies, among them The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Ecco, 2010), co-edited with Susan Harris; A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith (Tupelo Press, 2012), co-edited with Katherine Towler; Gossip and Metaphysics: Russian Modernist Poets and Prose (Tupelo Press, 2014), co-edited with Katie Farris and Valzhyna Mort; and In the Shape of the Human Body I am Visiting the Earth: Poems from Far and Wide (McSweeney's, 2017) with Dominic Luxford and Jesse Nathan. With Jean Valentine, he co-translated Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva.
Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union city of Odessa. He lost most of his hearing at the age of four after a doctor misdiagnosed mumps as a cold. His family was granted political asylum by the United States in 1993, settling in Rochester, New York. After his father’s death in 1994, Kaminsky began to write poems in English.
In the late 1990s, Kaminsky co-founded Poets For Peace, an organization that sponsors poetry readings in the United States and abroad. He has also worked as a Law Clerk at the National Immigration Law Center and at Bay Area Legal Aid, helping the poor and homeless to overcome their legal difficulties. He is on the creative writing faculty at Princeton University