Reading series features Ukraine-born poet, MNSU grad student

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Good Thunder Reading Series will return this week with Ilya Kaminsky and Kayla Lutes as the first guests.

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, Ukraine. His family was granted political asylum to the United States in 1993. About a year later, Kaminsky started writing poems in English. He later earned a political science degree from Georgetown University.

Kaminsky’s most well- known work is Deaf Republic (2019), a contemporary epic which expresses the sweep of history and the devastation of war.

Deaf Republic has received multiple honors including New York Times Notable Book award for 2019, winner of the 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry, 2019 National Jewish Book Award, and 2019 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Additionally, it has been named best book of 2019 by dozens of publications.

Furthermore, Kaminsky is author of Dancing in Odessa (2004), which won the Whiting Writers Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters/ Metcalf Award, and the Dorset Prize. He has also co-translated various other books including Eco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books).

Kaminsky’s poems have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his books are published in many countries including Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China.

In 2019, Kaminsky was selected by BBC as “one of the 12 artists that changed the world.”

Currently, he is the editor of the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry and editor-in-chief of Poetry International. He holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Institute of Technology and lives in Atlanta.

Kayla Lutes

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Kayla Lutes is now a graduate student at MNSU. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Lutes teaches creative writing as the Andreas Graduate Assistant and co-manages MNSU’s literary magazine, Blue Earth Review.

She has been published in the Asbury Review, Jessamine Journal, and Woven Tale Press

Republic. One of Lutes’ more popular publications is her short story Lilacs in Memoriam, which appeared in November’s Woven Tale Press Vol. VII #9.

Kaminsky will be leading a Workshop from 10-11 a.m. and a Craft Talk from 3-4 p.m. He will then be joined with Kayla Lutes to partake in the readings from 7:30-8:30 p.m. All events are free to attend and will be taking place online through Google Meet.

Header photo courtesy of Good Thunder Reading Series.

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