Frequency instructor, Sara Wintz answered a few of our questions about the role of letters in her writing practice. Her class starts June 17th, so there is still time to enroll!
Do you remember the first letter you received/wrote?
I don’t remember the first letter that I wrote or received, but I remember writing very lengthy thank you notes to family and friends. When I was a teenager, I had a very long correspondence with a relative, after his partner died. We collaborated on a fictional story together as a way to bond and transcend the grief, escaping into an imaginative space. It was the kind of optimism that only a child could have. I can’t imagine proposing a correspondence like that now – grief seems too complicated for fiction. But at the time, I think that it really helped.
Is there a particular literary figure, living or dead, you’d want to get a letter from?
Dorothy Parker, because she was such a character.
What’s a published/literary letter or written exchange that you think about/return to over and over again?
There’s a recording of Frank O’Hara reading “To the Film Industry in Crisis” with the Metro-Goldwyn Mayer theme playing in the background that I downloaded a while back on my phone and listening to it makes me smile. It’s such a clever, creative setting for a really, really good poem!
In your opinion, what is the advantage of a poem in letter form?
A poem in letter form is another way to create a more intense level of intimacy with the reader. We associate letters with official or highly personal correspondence. It’s also extremely rare to receive a letter anymore! Social media is a popular form of communication between people and, messages published on social media often are statements shared with many people, all at once, rather than 1:1. This workshop explores communication, as one of many quintessential elements in poetry.
Dates: Sundays, June 17 to July 8
Times: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm