Writing to Listen: Why I Write Across Prison Walls
This essay describes a prison-university writing exchange that culminated in the collection of audio and written essays "Why I Write" (http://www.why-i-write.com) and offers "writing to listen" as a strategy for communicating and listening across institutional and social boundaries. I argue that sound reveals the material conditions of speaking and writing; in our writing exchange, it reduced the anonymity at the heart of the project while also revealing the places and sounds that shape us as writers. I suggest that writing to listen also provides a framework for community listening that is inclusive of the many additional, intentional actions involved in making sure all participants in a partnership are being heard.
Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.