If one of the prime objectives of poetry is to communicate – and through that communication to enthral, entertain, stimulate, challenge and so on – then Ilya Kaminsky’s “Deaf Republic” is a success.
It isn’t poetry in any traditional sense, and seems to bestride the line that divides verse and the short story. Indeed, it can almost be read as the latter.
Kaminsky’s images are powerful and haunting, brutal even, and he conveys bravery, futility and the like in a novel and ‘modern’ way. I suspect few of the ‘poems’ actually stand up to much scrutiny on their own, their success undoubtedly coming from the considerable sum of the parts.