Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky, who graduated from Georgetown's English Department in 2001, before going on to receive his law degree from Hastings College in San Francisco.  He began teaching in the MFA program at San Diego State University in the fall of 2006 as an Assistant Prof. of English.

            Born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, Ilya arrived in the United States in 1993, where his family was granted asylum by the American government. He is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the Whiting Writer's Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2004 by ForeWord Magazine.

            In addition to his English language poems, Ilya writes poetry in Russian. His work in that language was chosen for "Bunker Poetico" at Venice Bienial Festival in Italy. In late 1990s, he co-founded Poets For Peace, an organization which sponsors poetry readings in the United States and abroad with a goal of supporting such relief organizations as Doctors Without Borders and Survivors International.

            Ilya has served as a Writer In Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy and has taught poetry at numerous literary centers.  He has also worked as a Law Clerk at the National Immigration Law Center, and more recently at Bay Area Legal Aid, helping impoverished and homeless in solving their legal difficulties. He currently lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, Katie Farris.ris.