National Endowment for the Arts
Writing the Wartime Experience

This book project asked troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to write down their experiences. U.S. service men and women submitted more than than 12,000 pages. Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, started the project. Poet Andrew Carroll, editor of the bestselling War Letters, edited this anthology. It includes nearly 100 letters, poems, stories, and memoirs of service and sacrifice on the front lines and at home. (The NEA will place all submissions in a public archive at the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.) The full title is Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front; in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. Washington Post Book World listed it a "Best of 2006."

The Boeing Company funded the project. The NEA's Operation Homecoming also sponsored writing workshops on military bases, led by authors such as Tom Clancy, Marilyn Nelson, Tobias Wolff, Wyatt Prunty, Bobbie Ann Mason, Mark Bowden and Richard Bausch. More than 6000 troops participated.

Audio from the Editor

"Operation Homecoming"- 8:34 MP3 Editor Andrew Carroll and project creator Dana Gioia (Chairman of the NEA) discuss the book and its contributors; and we hear troops reading their works. (Music by Jess Atkins.)

Audio from the CD

The NEA released a free CD for the project: Operation Homecoming - Writing The Wartime Experience, with military related writings read by the authors. Here's some selections, introduced by the NEA's Dana Gioia:

"A Christmas Gift"- Will D. Campbell 3:15 MP3

"First Snow In Alsace"- Richard Wilbur 2:27 MP3

"Star-Fix"- Marilyn Nelson 3:16 MP3

On the Battle Of The Bulge- Louis Simpson 2:23 MP3

On Literary Influences- Tobias Wolff 0:45 MP3

Audio also in above Flash MP3 Player

(This page is from the Hearing Voices
webwork for Operation Homecoming.)