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The effects of war in the yellow birds by kevin powers

Oct 4, 2012 11: Army in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. In the videos above, I talk to Powers about his book and he reads an excerpt for us. A transcript is after the jump.

The Yellow Birds

Thank you for having me, I appreciate it. When did you know that you would write about the war and what did you want to convey?

  • I mean I got home in early 2005;
  • And I just started accumulating material and I realized that I needed a larger canvas to say what I wanted to say, which was to try to answer the question that people were asking me, which was what was it like over there;
  • He is a volatile man, brutal and unpredictable;
  • You know inevitably there is the comparisons to other war books and I note you get the comparison to one:

About two years, a year, two years after I got home I started trying to deal with my own questions about my experience. I started initially writing poems about the war. And I just started accumulating material and I realized that I needed a larger canvas to say what I wanted to say, which was to try to answer the question that people were asking me, which was what was it like over there.

  1. You said you were writing since the age of 13, 15, early as young man.
  2. He flinches when cars drive past. When did you know that you would write about the war and what did you want to convey?
  3. Started the book sometime in 2007. One of those guys that make you wonder if he can ever adjust to regular society again.

The actual events that take place in the novel are not events that I experienced myself, but I think the kind of emotional core of the book was something that I identified with very strongly. This sort of interior life of the narrator, especially as something that I felt, those emotions are things that I felt myself. So you know you have this character Bartle, who is assigned really to watch over a less experienced soldier named Murph.

I think one of the things that is most difficult for him to adjust to is this feeling of powerlessness.

The war itself seems to be have a mind and purpose beyond his ability to comprehend it. Is that the kind of thing that you felt yourself?

There is another thing that comes through is the feeling of, I guess you could call it the absurdity of the war, in this war. And some of that comes from, you know, as I was writing the book, you know, I stayed aware of what was happening in Iraq, in some of the places that I had been.

  1. We keep fighting these wars that we can't win.
  2. If you decide to read this book you will experience jaw dropping lyrical sentences describing the fear of combat, the futility of war, and the life that has to be rediscovered afterwards. What about, a lot of the book is also about coming home, and the difficulties.
  3. They lay on the ground in scattered piles, torn feathers and leaves and the rinds of broken fruit intermingling. I think one of the things that is most difficult for him to adjust to is this feeling of powerlessness.
  4. Soldiers Tal Afar "The world makes liars of us all. Kevin Powers volunteered to join the army and served in Iraq from 2004-2005 as a machine gunner.

And it does seem strange, and absolutely absurd is probably an appropriate word to describe it. What about, a lot of the book is also about coming home, and the difficulties. You know inevitably there is the comparisons to other war books and I note you get the comparison to one: You said you were writing since the age of 13, 15, early as young man.

  • What about, a lot of the book is also about coming home, and the difficulties;
  • Nothing is more isolating than having a particular history;
  • The two days that I spent reading passed in a fog;
  • All pain is the same;
  • I wasn't really know around there anyway, but I had the feeling that if I encountered anyone they would intuit my disgrace and would judge me instantly.

Were you aware of these models? Certainly some of those books I read in school. I think I had to mature a bit some of that maturation happened while I was overseas myself to fully appreciate the kinds of things that those books addressed.

So sure, and now I mean in those books have been really important to me. I mean I got home in early 2005. Started the book sometime in 2007.

Conversation: Kevin Powers, Author of ‘The Yellow Birds’

And really just spent the next four years working on it, so you know several years did pass, where the story would come together. I felt like I had more clarity on my experience and my own ability to kind of translate that experience into a book. I am happy that these stories are beginning to be told. Thank you for having me.