Around the Listening Table, or, What it Feels Like to Write Together

November 14th, 2023 — 1:11pm

This poem by Julia Fehrenbacher describes what it feels like to write in a safe, supportive circle of women. In our practice, we use poetry lines as a prompt and write quickly and steadily for a set amount of time. If we were in class right now, our jump off lines would be:

Our only job is to tell the truth

This is what seeing looks like

This is what listening sounds like

This is what free feels like

I warmly invite you to join my next Women’s Writing circles! Zoom classes begin Wednesday, January 10th, 6 to 7:30 PM PT, and my in-home class begins Friday, January 12, 10 to noon PT. Fees are $45 per class/$360 for the series. If you sign up by December 10, the series is $310. The series runs for eight weeks. If you are experiencing financial challenges, please reach out! Any questions or if you’d like to talk more, email me at

Let’s write!


Around the Listening Table – Julia Fehrenbacher

We arrive one by one, carrying the heavy

of the body’s aches, the mind’s angst, the day’s
so-muchness, the warring world’s weight. We carry all
of the beautiful things too. All of it is invited.

We put pen to paper, throw off
the saddle, and away we gallop, we gallop fast enough
to outrun the ones who want to shut us up.

One word at a time, our only job
is to tell the truth. One word at a time, we say
what we want to say, what we don’t want to say.

There is no wrong way. It is all life. It is all right.

And then, we listen. We listen as each woman
empties herself. Each string of each heart
gets plucked. We bow. We cry. We laugh. We say thank you.

This is what seeing looks like. What listening
sounds like, what a little closer
to free feels like.

I walk away with their stories and hearts forever woven
into mine, like braided sweetgrass that can never
be unbraided. Like a notebook that holds every last word—

a symphony of sisterhood that can never be unsung.

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