Mission — Philosophy — Participants — Vision — History — Why “Frequency”?
Frequency is a community arts organization based in Providence and serving southeastern New England. We offer a range of creative writing workshops, studios, readings, and other events where participants rigorously engage with their writing, and with the writing of their peers. Our courses provide critical feedback in a supportive environment, help writers generate new work, and connect writers with other writers in the local community and beyond.
We offer ongoing workshops year round, which provides a platform not only for writers to share their work, but to form relationships and support each other’s development. We believe that the opportunity to make a sustained commitment to our work is what ultimately helps us hone our writing voice.
Because great writing seems to be in conversation with other works of literature, our instructors ask participants to read as much as they write. One of the goals of a Frequency workshop is to help writers identify books that will expand the parameters of their work. As teachers, we are invested in creating the kind of encouraging space that will allow writers to expand their creative boundaries.
No matter what their writing style, subject matter, objectives, or experience, our instructors are committed to helping participants explore elements of form and craft. Our class sizes are small, and our instructors offer detailed feedback. In providing this feedback, we aim to help writers better understand the mechanisms and effects of each piece they write, and to see the many possibilities that already exist in their work.
Frequency writers range from post-MFA, published authors to shyly-trying-out-their-first-piece scribblers. The different levels of experience and aesthetics in each class strengthen the discussion—and the work. We welcome all who like to write, and who would like to read, talk, share, and experiment with their work. Our past participants often remark on how energized they were by their Frequency experience. See what they’ve said.
In addition to classes and events, we are working to establish a permanent Frequency headquarters, which would serve as a space for local writers to connect outside of workshops— with each other, and with editors, publishers, and perhaps visual artists. This space would house a writer’s library, a reading series, and maybe even a weekly writers’ podcast.
We want Frequency to be affordable and accessible to all local writers, and we are working on establishing scholarships, and teen writing courses.
Created in May 2011 by Darcie Dennigan and Liz Howort, Frequency began with an intrepid group of eight poets who came together for a summer workshop at The Storefront. Early in their writing lives, both Liz and Darcie benefitted enormously from community writing classes—at Poets House in NYC and at Grub Street in Boston—and, realizing that there was no comparable organization in the Providence area, they set out to create one. With the help of many, many local writers, Frequency came into being. In our first year, we’ve offered courses lasting from one day to 12 weeks in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid forms.
In one of our first workshops, we read a poem by Kimiko Hahn, “Ode to 52 Hz,” and our discussion kept circling back to the word “frequency.” It felt like the ideal word to describe the work of a writer: to give voice to our own frequencies on a regular basis, and to find for our work readers on a similar wavelength.
Ode to 52 Hz
While monitoring enemy subs in the Pacific,
hydrophones classified a distinct
basso profundo frequency
calling with a metronome’s regularity
as belonging to a whale, species unknown.
For twelve years he’s been calling out to no response.
And now Mary Ann Daher,
the pioneer in marine mammal acoustics
who spent years eavesdropping
on the largely hidden lives of whales,
has died. So who will listen to 52 hertz?
To what scientists suggest
is either a hybrid great blue and fin or malformed?
Or as my husband (who has only studied Melville)
suggests, is a mutant? Me—
I responded to a Japanese American
but we divorced because
it doesn’t always work out according to kind
though I miss saying to my first mother-in-law: tadaima—
a frequency I cannot return to.
Of course I’m being a Romantic—
thinking the whale cared.
That it knew. That it cried out to a human
since no other listened.
That it knew no others listened—
or feared as much.
That we think so and can bear sentimentality.
That we listen for such opportunities. With frequency.
—Kimiko Hahn, from Toxic Flora (W.W. Norton, 2010).
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