by Brian Lampkin
The novelist and poet Kevin Powers will be our keynote speaker for Saturday’s line-up of Greensboro Bound events. Powers will appear at the International Civil Rights Museum and Center at 7:00 pm on Saturday, May 19.
Powers exploded on the literary scene with his 2012 novel The Yellow Birds, which was a National Book Award finalist. He served in the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004-05, and The Yellow Birds has been called “the first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq War” (Los Angeles Times). The dread anticipation of battle commingles with hazy memories of terror throughout this uniquely powerful work:
“I imagined it all, the first wound coming soon, in fall or what would pass for winter, likely to be cold, apt to be. I’d bleed, to be sure, if I were not also concussed, boxed on the ears, and de- and re-pressurized in an instant. I would bleed. I’ll bleed…. Murph would find my body, but first I had to become a body, so that there would be something to be shot, but more likely there would be an explosion, more likely there would be metal made into sheets with jagged edges folded over into my skin and my skin would be torn. And as confusion always seems to follow blasts, I would be left to bleed until my face became gray and my skin all over became gray, and thus I would become a body.”
Powers has a new novel set to publish just a week before the festival. A Shout in the Ruins opens in Civil War Virginia but quickly travels in time to the Jim Crow south of Richmond in the 1950s. Ron Rash has already said Powers has created “a novel that resonates out of the past to address the most timely issues of America in our own century. What an impressive novel.”
Greensboro Bound festival-goers have the rare opportunity to be there at the cusp of a major book’s arrival on the literary scene. Greensboro novelist Drew Perry will introduce Kevin Powers, and we advise that you get in line early. The Civil Rights Museum auditorium has limited seating and this event will likely fill up quickly.
A Shout in the Ruins (2018).
The Yellow Birds (2012). National Book Award Finalist, The Guardian First Book Award, Hemingway Foundation/Pen Award.
Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting (Poetry, 2014).
Brian Lampkin is co-owner of Scuppernong Books and word wrangler for the band, The Difficulties.