Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting
By Kevin Powers
The acclaimed author of THE YELLOW BIRDS returns with an extraordinary debut poetry collection.
Shortlisted for the 2014 TS Eliot Prize
Shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best First Collection
Poetry Book Society Choice
In this remarkable debut poetry collection, National Book Award finalist and Iraq war veteran Kevin Powers creates a startling, affecting portrait of a life shaped by war. 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.
Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. In 2004 and 2005 he served with the US Army in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq. He studied English at Virginia Commonwealth University after his honourable discharge and received an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. His poems have appeared in The Sun, Poetry, the New Orleans Review and the New York Quarterly. His debut novel, The Yellow Birds, was published in 2012, won the Guardian First Book Award, and is being adapted into a film starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (Sceptre) was shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was the PBS Summer Choice.
- Other details
- Publication date:
03 Apr 2014
- Page count:
Like the best war poets, Kevin Powers' real subject is not the battle for land or governance, but the battle for one man's soul. In dramatising that inner conflict, he achieves a poetry both urgent and universal. — Michael Symmons Roberts, winner of the 2013 Forward and Costa prizes
Extraordinary...Brilliantly observed and deeply affecting. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times on THE YELLOW BIRDS
Powers is a poet first, so THE YELLOW BIRDS is spare, incredibly precise, unimproveable. — Dave Eggers, Observer
Kevin Powers has produced a masterpiece of war literature and a classic. — Hilary Mantel, Times, on THE YELLOW BIRDS
There is a plain-speaking, backyard tone to these poems, its ancestry stretching all the way back to such writers as Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving... it is probably advisable to dip into this piecemeal rather than attempt to absorb its brutal richesse in one sitting... To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, perhaps every poet should think meanly of himself for not producing a debut collection quite as powerful as this one. — Sunday Express
A powerful and very affecting collection. — Poetry London