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Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. He served in the US Army in 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, where he was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar. His debut novel, The Yellow Birds was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2012 and was a New York Times bestseller in its first week of publication.
Author photo © Kelly Powers
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. LETTER COMPOSED DURING A LULL IN THE FIGHTING captures the many moments that comprise a soldier's life: driving down the Texas highway; waiting for the unknown in the dry Iraq heat; writing a love letter; listening to a mother recount her dreams. Written with honesty and insight, these poems strive to make sense of war and its echoes through human experience. Just as THE YELLOW BIRDS was hailed as the 'first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war,' (Los Angeles Times) this collection will prove to be a powerful, enduring classic.
August 2014 Guest Editor Gerald Seymour on The Yellow Birds... And I am not totally wedded to nostalgia. Anyone wishing to see fiction’s response to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and be confident that the author knows what he writes of, should get hold of ‘The Yellow Birds’ by Kevin Powers. He was in the US military, was a machine gunner is times of brutal combat. His word pictures of a soldier’s life in a conflict zone are seriously memorable. The images are sincere and sensitive: it’s short and I deeply regretted finishing it, wanted more. One of our Books of the Year 2013. Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2012. An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran and poet, The Yellow Birds is already being hailed as a modern classic.
Winner of the Guardian First Book Award 2012. Everywhere John looks, he sees Murph. He flinches when cars drive past. His fingers clasp around the rifle he hasn't held for months. Wide-eyed strangers praise him as a hero, but he can feel himself disappearing. Back home after a year in Iraq, memories swarm around him: bodies burning in the crisp morning air. Sunlight falling through branches; bullets kicking up dust; ripples on a pond wavering like plucked strings. The promise he made, to a young man's mother, that her son would be brought home safely. With THE YELLOW BIRDS, poet and veteran Kevin Powers has composed an unforgettable account of friendship and loss. It vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war, and its terrible after-effects. But it is also a story of love, of great courage, and of extraordinary human survival. Written with profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on families at home, THE YELLOW BIRDS is one of the most haunting, true and powerful novels of our time.
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