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Kevin Powers is a renown fiction writer, an outstanding poet and an Iraq War veteran. He was born on 11th July 1980, to his mother, a mail carrier and his father, a factory worker who worked for Philip Morris. He was born and raised in a middle class suburb in Richmond, Virginia. Powers enjoyed writing ever since he was a kid.He derived motivation from his role models to enlist in the Army National Guard during his senior year in high school. Powers’ role models include; his father who had served in the army, an uncle who was in the marine corps and both grandfathers who had served in the army during World War 2.Assigned as a machine gunner in Musol and Al Tafar, his work was to provide security for soldiers who were disarming bombs, he served in the engineering unit during his one year tour in Iraq. After his discharge, that summer he spent time with his brother framing houses.
Later he got a job at a credit company in Richmond and his work was to answer phone calls.He later enrolled in a degree program in Virginia Commonwealth University and in 2008 he graduated with a bachelors honor in English.At Virginia Commonwealth University, he enjoyed writing, reading and going for group discussions. Powers, further pursued his education further, he received a masters degree (MFA) from the University of Texas at Austin and in the same university he became a Michener fellow in poetry. He has a poetry foundation and many of his poems have since appeared in New York Quarterly,The Sun, Poetry and The New Orleans review. Kevin Powers is currently married to his lovely and adorable wife Kelly and together, they live in Florence, Italy.Powers describes his life experience in Iraq and back at home through literary fiction. He describes how in Iraq everything mattered whether big or small it was all important.
However upon their return veterans feel a sense of loneliness, they are no longer part of a team. Veterans feel unfit, they are unable to relate with others and have no one to share their experiences. The veterans lack ambition,aims, goals and purpose. This therefore becomes a major reason for them to turn to alcohol and drugs to give them solace suicide becomes common for the veterans.His was lucky return home as he did not have any injuries and found employment soon after. He escaped the anxiety and mental stress that he would have received from trying to reintegrate and adjust if he had no employment. Meals and accommodation would become a problem as in the case of many veterans who failed to secure employment. In one of his interviews,Powers recalls an eventful day in campus, where he thought, he was being shot at yet there was fireworks in the college since it was the 4th of July and it took him a while to realize that all was well. His thoughts had been triggered by the noises and sounds that he had experienced during the war and had powerful memories.
He also admits to the smell of the diesel engine from a bus in the city would also stir nervousness.One of Powers’ initial book published under the title ‘The Yellow Birds’ gained a lot of popularity and was referred by the New York Times as a classic of war fiction that was contemporary. The book positively reviewed by many was among the best top 10 best novels in 2012. He confesses to having drawn inspiration for writing the book from many questions that he was often asked about what his experience was like in Iraq. Many people really wanted to know what it really felt like; the psychological, emotional and physical struggles that he underwent. Powers urges the government in his interviews to give opportunities to veterans,since they have served and contributed something to their country and have in the process lost some things that they could not get back. The Yellow Bird is a 226 paged book that describes a story of two soldiers fighting to stay alive. The book honors loss of lives and indicates the pieties of war. The soldiers, Bartle, twenty one years of age and Murphy, eighteen years old, cling on to their dear lives when their platoon decides to launch a fierce battle for the city of Al Tafar, Iraq. The two are in a war neither is prepared for.
However, they make a pact and have to do everything within their abilities to save each other. Bartle is very much tormented and tortured by the promises he made to Murphy’s mother right before their deployment. Murphy unfortunately dies and Powers, uses Bartle’s experience to describe the life of soldiers after they have left the war. He gives a picture that acknowledges that soldiers are at risk of other injuries not only the physical injuries they encountered during the war. Upon his return home Bartle is unable to leave the house, fit in and make friends. The book has won several awards; Powers received an award from The First Book of The Guardians in 2012. He later in 2012 was a finalist in the fiction category and received the Award of National Book. Still in the same year he received Hemingway Foundation, also known as the PEN Award and was shortlisted for the Flaherty Dunnan First Novel Prize . Finally, in 2013 he was a cowinner in the fiction category and received the award of Anisfield- Wolf .
The book ‘The Yellow Birds’ will make it to screen in 2017 and will be directed by Alexander Moors, it will include famous actors such as Jennifer Aniston and Jack Huston among others.Powers has also published a collection of poetry under the title ‘Letter Composed During A Lull In The Fighting’. The collection contains soldiers’ experiences such as life uncertainty and writing of love letters to spouses and family. Powers using his poetry struggles to make sense of war and the echoes of war in human experiences. In the poems he uses a flat tone and language that is evocative and full of discernment.Kevin Powers poems give the realities of war, deep insights and the brutalities that are as a result of war.Book Series In Order » Authors » Kevin Powers