A series of intimate and captivating interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and artists about quotidian objects, experiences or obsessions, Commonplace conversations explore the recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work. One feels, when listening to Commonplace, the pleasure of eavesdropping on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.

Episode 72: Ilya Kaminsky

Episode 72: Ilya Kaminsky

Rachel Zucker speaks with author, editor, translator and professor, Ilya Kaminsky. Kaminsky and Zucker discuss Kaminsky’s newest collection, Deaf Republic, fabulism, public poetry readings, accessibility, the problematic American obsession with newness and publishing as much as possible, capitalism and the corporatization of academia, Whitman and Dickinson, outsiders versus classicists, discovering Isaac Babel, writing as an ecstatic experience, the benefits and dangers of translation, the way capitalism renders people uncertain, and the poet’s responsibility to awaken the senses.


Books by Ilya Kaminsky

Poetry Collections:

Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019)

Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004)


The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (co-editors Susan Harris, Ecco, 2010) 

In the Shape of a Human I Am Visiting the Earth: Poems from Far and Wide (co-editors Dominic Luxford and Jesse Nathan, McSweeney’s, 2017)

Gossip and Metaphysics: Russian Modernist Poems and Prose (co-editors Katie Farris and Valzhyna Mort, Tupelo Press, 2014)

A God in the House: Poets Talk about Faith, (co-editor Katherine Towler, Tupelo Press, 2012) 


Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (with Jean Valentine, Alice James, 2012)

This Lamentable City by Polina Barskova (Tupelo Press, 2010)

If I Were Born in Prague: Poems of Guy Jean (with Katie Farris, Argos Press, 2011)

Other Books and Writers Featured in the Episode

Isaac Babel

Leslie Scalapino



Anna Akhmatova 

Czeslaw Milosz

Tomas Tranströmer

Other Relevant Links

“Searching for a Lost Odessa — and a Deaf Childhood” published in the New York Times, Aug. 9, 2018

Ilya reads “Search Patrols” for the Poetry Foundation

Interview with Ilya in the Adirondack Review

Polish poet Adam Zagajewski talks to American translator Clare Cavanaugh and Ilya Kaminsky about contemporary Polish poetry, for the Poetry Foundation


Episode 73: Jennifer Croft (Translation Series Ep. 3)

Episode 73: Jennifer Croft (Translation Series Ep. 3)

Episode 71: Mira Jacob

Episode 71: Mira Jacob