“To give sound to our story and volume to our voice!”
~ Jenuine Poetess
Welcome to the webhome of In the Words of Womyn. Allow me to give you a bit of a tour around our page.
- Home: Site tour and ITWOW history. Also, learn more about our founder, Jenuine Poetess.
- Blog: Read poems, stories, and reflections published by womyn involved with various chapters of ITWOW.
- ITWOW~SFV: Find information about the San Fernando Valley chapter of ITWOW which meets Fridays at Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar, California.
- HOT~ITWOW: Find information about the Heart of Texas chapter of ITWOW which meets Mondays at Barnes & Noble in Waco, Texas.
- Donate! Learn how your donor dollars are used to continue and grow the work of ITWOW in CA and TX. Two support options are available via one-time donations or monthly member subscriptions.
- Publishing on ITWOW: Submission guidelines for publishing original writings on the ITWOW blog.
- About “Womyn”: Jenuine’s reflections on the spelling of “womyn” she has chosen to use for this program.
To receive ITWOW posts via email, please enter your address and click, “Subscribe” in the top box in the right sidebar. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you join us for a writing circle near you!
How In the Words of Womyn became…
On January 15, 2010, the first In the Words of Womyn writing circle began. But the story, the vision, begins quite before then.
In late May of 2009, Jenuine visited Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural for the very first time. It was a balmy Friday evening and she arrived just in time for Open Mic. She immediately felt a sense of home and returned week after week to attend and share. Over the weeks and months as she was involved in Open Mic, she noticed that not many other womyn would go up to the mic though many womyn were in attendance each week. She would reach out to other womyn who often shared that they too were writers but had never dared to get up to share.
Jenuine considered the circumstance and wondered aloud to several womyn staff-members of the Centro once, what if they held a womyn’s writing circle. It seemed like just the event for a creative cultural space. Trini Rodriguez, co-founder of Tia Chucha’s and Operations Director suggested that Jenuine start such a program. Intimidated by the idea Jenuine laughed and dismissed the idea thinking she had no business leading such a group with zero qualifications. In her impeccably wise and compassionate way Trini told Jenuine,
“It is, of course, your decision to make. But at Tia Chucha’s we believe that when someone is given a vision for a program or project, it was given to them for a reason–given to you to bring to life. Think about it. We will support you when you are ready.” ~Trini
While at the moment those words seemed daunting to Jenuine, their empowering truth has become a cherished gift. Jenuine left that day certain she was not the woman to organize and facilitate such a group. She had never taken a writing class, never studied literature to any extent, she even felt rather embarrassed about how little she knew or read of the “great writers.” But something about the idea stuck with her, a veritable pebble in the shoe of her soul, and she came to realize that what she and the other womyn needed was not a class. Rather, what Jenuine and the womyn around her were searching for was a safe space to write, to share, and to empower one another,
…to give sound to our story and volume to our voice! ~ Jenuine
So, in October of 2010 Jenuine returned to Trini and the other womyn of Tia Chucha’s and proposed her vision for In the Words of Womyn a weekly writing circle where womyn writers of all ages, levels, genres, styles, and languages could gather together to practice, discuss, and explore the written & spoken-word arts. It was her dream that by sharing together in a smaller circle each week, womyn would build the courage and confidence to carry their work, and their voice, up to the mic at Open Mic.
Over the months and years that ITWOW has been thriving, countless womyn have stepped up to the mic for the first time–hands shaking, voice quivering, heart pounding, soul radiant–to share a part of herself, and in doing so, join in the chorus of her sisters, and mothers, and grandmothers, and womyn across all of time who are being unsilenced.
What was once an intimidating notion has become one of the greatest joys Jenuine could ever imagine. It was to her sheer delight when in January 2013 she was able to begin a second chapter of
ITWOW in Waco, Texas after moving there from Los Angeles in order to provide assistance and support to her family. Thankfully, under the facilitation of Alex Hohmann, ITWOW~SFV continues to thrive at the Tia Chucha’s location while HOT~ITWOW will begin her second year in Waco.
It is Jenuine’s hope that ITWOW may continue to grow. Ideally she would love to spend a great majority of her time in writing circles at schools, prisons, homes, community centers, and any where else individuals gather to put pen to paper and thrash out the innermost wonderings and wanderings of the heart and soul. Jenuine feels deeply honored to have the privilege of writing and sharing with so many extraordinary womyn over the years and attributes a great deal of her becoming to the conversations, poems, stories, and truths told around the ITWOW circle. It is her hope that all womyn who come to the table leave empowered in their own identities as writers and as womyn.
Let us write on, that we may thrive on!