Dr. Ilya Kaminsky, the Bourne Chair in Poetry and director of Poetry @ Tech, was awarded the prestigious Academy of American Poets Fellowship. The award places him in the company of such giants of American poetry as Robert Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Tracy K. Smith who are past recipients of the fellowship.
Established in 1936 and given in memory of James Ingram Merrill, with generous support from the T. S. Eliot Foundation, the prize recognizes distinguished poetic achievement and carries with it a stipend of $25,000 and a residency at the Eliot summer home in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Fellows are nominated and elected by a majority vote of the Academy’s Board of Chancellors.
In announcing the award to Kaminsky, Academy Chancellor Kwame Dawes said, “Ilya Kaminsky is among a few poets that one has to admire for his impact on the wider poetry world through the force of his art, despite his relatively modest publishing output as a poet. Consequently, he is quite easily and rightfully recognized as a vital voice in global poetry and one of the most brilliant poets working today.”
“His is a poetics for our moment, as much engaged in understanding the world of Eastern Europe as it is in understanding America today. And yet in his work one suspects a reach that extends beyond our moment—a reach for something urgent and essential—a sense of social justice and a compelling proposition that speaking out against tyranny and abuse perpetuated by governments remains a timeless and necessary imperative of art. The quest for beauty in language is, therefore, an act of resistance and even protest in the face of the ugliness of human oppression. Ilya Kaminsky remains a tremendous broker for the poetic arts in our world today.”
Kaminsky is the author of multiple collections of poetry, including Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019). His work has been recognized in the past by a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Whiting Award, the Ruth Lily Poetry Fellowship, and a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Kaminsky for this distinction, which also brings credit to the Georgia Institute of Technology Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and its School of Literature, Media, and Communication which houses the Poetry@Tech program.
Poetry@Tech kicks off its 2019/2020 poetry reading series on October 3. All readings are free and open to the public. Find out more about the series, poetry and writing classes and visiting fellows in the program at Poetry@Tech.