Tuesday 24 June 2014

Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting - Kevin Powers

A collection of poems from Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds. Powers has clearly been deeply effected by his time in the military and by his tour of Iraq during the most recent US involvement in the region. If the effectiveness of a body of poetry can be gauged by how much they make you feel the raw emotion behind them, then these are highly effective. I found these poems to be raw, shocking and highly charged; and was moved to tears while reading several of these. I'll admit that literature of the most recent conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan have a certain increased resonance with me generally, and at the moment in particular but even without this I think these are some potentially very important works. I am afraid that when it comes to poetry I am rather old fashioned in my tastes. I am not a massive fan of free verse, preferring a more structured stanzaic form, so I have to say that some of the longer, less structured pieces were a little difficult for me to fully appreciate; however for anyone with less fogyish tastes this has the makings of a five star collection.

“If this poem had wires coming out of it,
 you wouldn’t read it.
 If these words were made of metal
 they could kill us all. But these
 are only words. Go on,
 they are safe to fold and put into your pocket.
 Even better, they are safe
 to be forgotten.”

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