News: Georgia Tech Poet Ilya Kaminsky Wins National Jewish Book Award

Ilya Kaminsky

Posted January 17, 2020

By Michael Pearson

Ilya Kaminsky, the Bourne Chair in Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award in poetry for his book, Deaf Republic.

The Jewish Book Council announced Kaminsky had won the Berru Award for Poetry in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash on Jan. 15. Kaminsky, professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC) and director of Poetry@Tech, will be honored at the organization’s March 17 awards dinner in New York.

“I am honored to receive an award with such a distinguished history. It is humbling,” Kaminsky said, adding that he had grown up reading many past recipients of the honor.

“Also, in a time when anti-Semitic attacks are again, unfortunately, in the news, it is important that we respond with poetry, with culture, that we take a higher stand,” he said. “I feel that the finalists and the recipients of this award this year are doing just that, and so it is an honor to stand on the same stage with them.”

Widely acclaimed as one of the greatest poets of his generation, Kaminsky teaches Georgia Tech students poetry, helps organize the Southeast’s premier poetry reading series, and continues to dedicate efforts to the poetry community, such as a recent refugee poetry reading and workshop designed to help increase diversity among critics.

Deaf Republic is also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Jean Stein Award, each of which will be presented in March in New York. The book also was a finalist for the National Book Award.

"This prestigious award is evidence for the top quality and national impact of Georgia Tech's humanities disciplines,” said LMC Chair Richard Utz.

The School is a unit of Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

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Michael Pearson