Tag Archives: writing

Stories, Respect, and the News

photo 1(1)With so much sad news and divisiveness in our city and the world, I’ve been trying to remind myself of the small actions people can take to bridge divides in experience and perspective and to make sense of their own experiences. I started Voices from War and our writing workshops for veterans in 2013 with this in mind: the gaps between people’s experiences, the silence, the voids of comprehension, the need on the individual level for this to be different, and what it does for broader communities to be able to speak of or explain what seems unspeakable or inexplicable.

Readers of this blog know that experiences of war are complex, often difficult to explain; and veterans have too few places to share them, or simply make sense of them for oneself. Narrative helps bring disparate and contradictory actions, emotions, relationships, together. Writing helps in creating a sense of order from disorder. Without hostility; with respect.

I keep thinking of the mutual respect we share within the Voices from War workshops – among different generations and backgrounds, different political groundings, while engaging with harsh realities – and the community that arises alongside the discussions and stories, both fiction and non-fiction. Divides within ourselves and between ourselves and others are bridged in the workshops – in the room and with writing – and through related outreach, publication, and public events.

In this difficult period of strife and too-frequent bad news… in this period of generosity of spirit, family, and festive lights… may there be more support for civil discussion, mutual respect, telling and hearing, with empathy, each others’ stories.

Please consider supporting Voices from War and our work during this season of giving. Our first fundraising appeal is going on now through Indiegogo.

We need your support to sustain and grow what we do.

Thank you – and Happy Holidays to all.photo 4(2)

Kara Krauze

New York City, Dec. 22, 2014


https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/voices-from-war   photo 3(4)

You can read about our exciting perks on the Indiegogo page, including great books, subscriptions to Tin House literary journal, our own logo Notebooks and Totes – and more!

You can also help by sharing on Facebook and Twitter, or by email.

Thank you on #GivingTuesday

Giving_Tues_Voices_bannerTues., Dec. 2nd, 2014

To our Voices from War extended community:

Dear Friends,

First, THANK YOU to each of you for your part in making Voices from War a successful reality, whether you are a veteran participating in our weekly writing workshops or an engaged civilian, veteran, or veteran service provider receiving our updates – and listening for more veteran stories. Perhaps you were able to attend our recent event, “Journeys in Stories,” in collaboration with non-profit arts organization Veteran Artist Program. The Voices from War Literary Showcase, which was followed by another powerful ensemble performance by The Telling Project, was a fantastic success – engaging, thoughtful, thought-provoking – with an audience of over 200! We can’t wait to tell you about each of the exciting projects we are working on, with the Voices from War writing workshop always at our core; a place to write, to reflect, to engage, in a community of fellow veterans, writing.

I am writing to you today to ask for your ongoing support on this “Giving Tuesday.” Our writing workshops continue because of your support.

We are launching our first Voices from War crowdfunding campaign next week through Indiegogo – and we need your support, whether in the form of a modest contribution, help spreading the word, or both!

Voices from War, from our start in 2013, has relied on word-of-mouth support, whether through participants in our writing workshops, friends and colleagues, veterans, or others who work closely with veterans. And we take pride in building community through you – whether you are a veteran, or a civilian, or a military family member. Whether you are a reader or a writer. Whether you work actively with or for a veteran service organization or are in the military, or whether you are not even sure if you know a recent veteran, yet.

All of us count on the capable hands and minds of veterans, their strength and resilience, and their service. Their return to civilian society and the richness of their ongoing contributions matter deeply to each of us, to history, and to our literature. Whether someone served recently in Iraq or Afghanistan, or decades earlier in Vietnam, whether in Korea or Europe, or in regions and conflicts to which we have paid less heed – their stories matter, their voices matter. Without them, we know far less of the firsthand realities of war and military life – the camaraderie found in struggle, the pain of violent loss, and so much in between. Their stories are human stories; and from war stories, we understand more of ourselves.

Stories deepen our humanity. Telling stories, sometimes just for ourselves, sometimes for a wider audience, brings us closer – to ourselves, to understanding complex experience, and to others. Writers and readers. Veterans and civilians. People.

I am asking you today to take a moment, to consider all of these stories, how much our own stories matter to us; how much the stories of others – whether told through the truths of memory or the different truth of fiction – enrich our lives.

Please share in Voices from War’s work, and in our future, in these simple ways—

Your attention matters; and in this season of giving and giving thanks, your gift, however small, makes a difference.

Whether you can give $1, $10, or $100 – even if you find you cannot make a contribution at all right now – please share our campaign and please share in the work of Voices from War. We could not do it without you.

Want to know more about Voices from War and what we do?

We are concluding our third season of writing workshops for veterans at the 14th Street Y in New York City, and getting ready for our next season, Winter-Spring 2015. We just held a fantastically successful Literary Showcase, part of the 2nd Annual VAP Veterans Week Showcase, in collaboration with veteran-arts non-profit Veteran Artist Program – “Journeys in Stories: From the Front to the Home Front in Words” – and we are finishing editorial work on our first Voices from War literary journal – Volume 1 of writing from workshop participants! We can’t wait to share work from these fine writers – fiction and non-fiction from veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and even Korea.

Please visit our website, and check back on the site, the Voices from War blog, and our Facebook page for more updates!

And, again, thank you for all you give – by listening, by writing, by contributing however much or little you are able, and by sharing in the importance of our work; by sharing in valuing the importance of these voices.


Kara Krauze
Director, Voices from War

email: info@VoicesfromWar.org

Giving_Tues_Voices__compactYou can make a PLEDGE to our upcoming Indiegogo Fundraising campaign (tax-deductible, see below) with this simple online form. (We will remind you later!)

Thank You!

Voices from War is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Voices from War must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Or Donate Now – through Fractured Atlas, our fiscal sponsor.


THANK YOU for supporting Voices from War!

On writing—and war stories we want to read

Redepolyment & The Bosnia ListToday, some words of wisdom from wonderful writer and former U.S. Marine Phil Klay, author of the acclaimed new short story collection Redeployment.

“When I came back I had all these questions to think about that were interesting or important for me, and writing the book was one way for me to grapple with both what the experience meant to me and what the war in Iraq meant to our country and culture.”

        – Phil Klay, author of Redeployment

*interviewed by Kirkus Reviews (Megan Labrise)

Redeployment powerfully encompasses multiple perspectives and experiences of war. The collection recently received a fabulous review (an engaging read in itself, while informative about the qualities that recommend the review’s subject), by Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War, in the New York Times Book Review.

~  ~  ~

In April, The Center for Fiction, in midtown Manhattan, near Grand Central, hosts Phil Klay on Redeployment and Jennifer Vanderbes, whose new book The Secret of Raven Point, is about a brother and sister, soldier and nurse, stationed in Europe during World War II.

That’s April 10th at 7:00 p.m. in NYC.

~ ~ ~

War literature is also coming up at Franklin Park’s Reading Series. You can catch Jennifer Percy, author of Demon Camp, about a returning Afghanistan veteran, along with Kenan Trebincevic and Susan Shapiro, writing about Trebincevic’s experiences as a Bosnian émigré and his trip back after the war in The Bosnia List, plus Liza Monroy, author of The Marriage Act, and essayist Melynda Fuller.

That’s this coming Monday, March 24th at 8:00pmFranklin Park Bar and Beer Garden.


** A huge THANK YOU to Poets & Writers and The New York State Council on the Arts for supporting another season of Voices from War, A Writing Workshop for Veterans. And an ongoing THANK YOU to the 14th Street Y, supporter and sponsor, welcoming the workshop and its participants each week; and building Voices from War. **


Start telling your story.

Voices from War’s Writing Workshop for Veterans – Winter-Spring 2014 is running now.
Stay tuned for summer options.
Come work on your story in a supportive community of fellow vets.
Space Limited.
Next Class (#6 of Season 2): March 23rd.

“Memory of places and comrades” and unheard stories

Benjamin Busch, veteran and writer, penned the introduction to upcoming anthology, Standing Down (coming from the Great Books Foundation this October), which pulls together a wide-ranging assemblage of writing on war, an exciting addition to war literature collections.

Last November, Busch, author of the thoughtful and beautifully crafted memoir Dust to Dust (about war, grief, parents, childhood, living…), read a concise piece on the silences of war, looking back on his grandfather and World War II.  You can hear him over at Talking Service and read the transcript at NPR, along with an essay by veteran David Abrams on the incongruities of war, which Abrams so engagingly brings forth in his satiric novel, Fobbit.

Here’s some of the take-away from Benjamin Busch:

“There are 22 million veterans living in America today, civilians again, mowing their lawns and waiting in lines.

In the six years since I left the Marines, what always strikes me is a veteran’s enduring attachment to their unit, their clear memory of places and comrades, the stunning drama of their missions or unique situational comedy of their labors. Most of these stories are never heard, because no one ever asks for them.

We mention sacrifice on days like this, but sacrifice likely isn’t the thing a veteran will recall. It will be the stories. It’s these tales that make military experience comprehensible to those who never serve in this way. What if today — instead of thanking a veteran for their service and then passing by — you take a moment to ask them for a story? We’ve all got one to tell.”

– Benjamin Busch, on NPR, Veteran’s Day 2012

It’s well worth reading the short piece in its entirety.
REGISTRATION open for Voices from War’s Writing Workshop for Veterans – Fall 2013.
Come work on your story in a supportive community of fellow vets.

Colum McCann – stories building community

Literary magazine Bodega offers an engaging interview with wonderful writer Colum McCann on his involvement with the new literary non-profit venture Narrative4, global storytelling.

“The core philosophy is: You step into my shoes, I step into yours.  You take responsibility for my life, I take precious care of yours.  Stories are the engine of who we are.  They are a mighty weapon.  Like kids, we must treat them with respect.”

“There is not a person who might not, potentially, benefit from the ability to exchange her story. That’s a bold statement but I think it’s true.”

– Colum McCann, in Bodega magazine

REGISTRATION open for Voices from War’s Writing Workshop for Veterans – Fall 2013.
Come work on your story in a supportive community of fellow vets.

Writer Roxana Robinson on the civilian-military divide

Writer Roxana Robinson picks her five favorite war books for The Literarian, and writes of researching her new novel Sparta:
“I became fascinated by the world of the military—how different it is from the civilian world, how differently it’s structured, and how powerful and compelling and complex and ancient it is. Suddenly, I couldn’t get enough information about it. I read and read, and I went to veterans’ gatherings, and I interviewed veterans. I was caught up in the drama of a movement that was deeply connected to our lives, but which had nothing to do with them. I was struck by this fact—how separate the two lives are, and how impossible it seemed to be, to connect them. And I was struck by the way this seemed to have been true always, going back to The Iliad.”
REGISTRATION open for Voices from War’s Writing Workshop for Veterans – Fall 2013.