Letter-Writing Workshop! Micro-Interview with Instructor Sara Wintz

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


Keep Alive nearly Forgotten Stories

One of Frequency’s most popular instructor’s, Victor Wildman is teaching a writing workshop that focuses on how writing can save and keep what we cherish:

Preservation Acts

Instructor: Victor Wildman
Dates: Thursdays, June 7th to July 19th (No class 7/5)
Times: 6:30 pm to 9:00pm
$250 (Partial and full scholarships available.)

Why write to preserve? Why now?

People make art, and people write, for a variety of reasons: maybe to communicate an idea, or express a feeling or a thought; maybe to enter into a dialogue with an audience. In the end, the marks on paper o (be they photographs or sculptures, paintings or films) are an attempts to fix something that would otherwise disappear, by giving it a form that brings others in…. [A] way to keep something that would otherwise simply vanish….

This impulse, usually in the background of artmaking practices, I am bringing explicitly to the fore by offering this course. Why? Because the way the world is increasingly moving—the pace at which life comes at us as mediated through our technologies—makes the act of preserving more important, and more difficult, than it has ever been.

How have you found inspiration in Zoe Leonard’s creative preservations? 

img-zoe-leonard_075409238391-769x1000Think of Zoe Leonard, all of whose work, in one way or another, comes from an impulse to keep alive the things she considers important. Her decade long project, Analogue, uses alternative Analogue photography which is more and more being displaced by the slick convenience of the digital.


Analogue, 1998-2009

She photographed storefronts all along the Lower East Side, where she grew up, to capture the quirky, individual characters of these mom and pop establishments before they shut down, before they became the latest victims of gentrification to be replaced by the identical, chain stores we see popping up everywhere. She found a way to keep a world that has forever disappeared. Yet it is kept alive through these hundreds of photographs. It is still here and, because of this creative material work, it will never be entirely forgotten.

This course is ultimately about paying attention—looking and listening….

Listening to the world around us, in ways that we are perhaps not accustomed to doing so intently. This heightened attention has formal implications:

When Susan Howe tries to do for Lake George what Thoreau did for Walden Pond, she uses radically different means—a de-layering and a re-layering of history, an explicit thematization of the words we use in our descriptions. By revealing the strangeness of our naming practices, she liberates Lake George again into the wild…allowing us to see it, one more time.

Often things get lost, not because they are no longer there, but because we become no longer capable of seeing them.

So, in this writing workshop, we will read and consider films by artists who, through a radicalness of form, enable us to see things that would otherwise be unseen.

Everyone is welcome—all that matters is that one be ready to read and do the work, so that together we can move through some of the technical means necessary for keeping things alive— towards a space of greater awareness and shared respect.



Testimonies of Victor’s previous writing students:

Marcy Wintrub

I don’t think I’d be writing anything if not for Victor. He keeps me moving forward by providing encouragement, inspiration and structure.  His assignments have helped me look at writing – and how I write – in totally new ways. I didn’t even know I was in a writing rut until his assignments got me out!

Evelyn Zepf

I’ve been in Victor’s advanced workshop since he started it and it has helped me immensely.  The advanced assignments are specific to the student’s chosen writing project – and Victor is really good at devising writing exercises that helped me develop the direction and voice for the story I’m writing. The weekly critique keeps me focused and able to edit and improve as I go along. He is passionate about teaching and interested and involved in everybody’s projects and I’m learning a lot from the other students’ writing because of that.

Kevin Neel

I took three of Victor’s seminars, and found them to be invaluable. I had had an idea for a writing project, but was not making much progress on my own, and Victor’s classes helped turn that around.  First of all, his encouragement and enthusiasm was infectious and inspiring.  I never felt any judgement, and his excitement about all of our work helped us to develop the habit of writing and to enjoy the process, rather than be focused on a final product.  And, lastly, I’d say that he had a really unique ability to help hone some vague ideas into a place, an era, and characters.  As a teacher, mentor, and editor, he was great, and I left each class much more inspired to continue my own work, and more equipped to do so.

Todd Yonkman

I came to Victor’s workshop with hundreds of pages of transcribed interviews. Victor helped me re-imagine my project as fiction and in doing so taught me the redemptive power of fiction. Victor helped me feel my way into my characters lives so that gaps in my knowledge became opportunities to explore rather than barriers to writing.



Typewriter Poems on Demand at PVDFest!

Come find us for interactive urban-jungle poetry at PVDFest 2018.

On Saturday June 9th, Frequency Writers invites you to contribute to our creative writing. The fun starts at noon on Saturday, with poets writing at least until 3PM. We will be downtown on Washington St., nearing the corner of Union St.

Know a poet or two who would like the opportunity to write poems for the public with Frequency? Please email coordinator@frequencywriters.org for more information about this opportunity and compensation.

The Creative Capital comes alive for this free four-day festival that celebrates artists from around the globe and around the corner.

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Student Spotlight: Kik Williams

Frequency is honored to feature the voices and writing of community members! Our Student Spotlights bring you the words of some of our inspired writers. If you would like to share your own thoughts, please email coordinator@frequencywriters.org.

The Writer

I started writing poems the year I turned sixty. Since taking my first class at Frequency, everything changed.

I didn’t read until I was in my teens, with ADD and dyslexia, so, intellectually, I didn’t have much “school” confidence. If you know me, I’m sure you find this hard to believe. (I have tons now.)

I try to write daily….  think that part of my writing process is taking classes. Sometimes I use a technique that my Frequency teacher, Nick Rattner, taught us: start with “Today I have nothing to write….” Go from there. It works for me!

If I’m not writing poems, my goal is to edit old poems and to submit [for publication]…. I have tons of rejections but also personal responses saying things like, “your poem sat with us a long time, we really liked it, but in the end have chosen not to publish it.”

This past year I started to apply to residencies and workshops. Last October I spent a month in France in a residency with nine artists who have become life long friends. In December, I was supposed to go to Kenya for a residency, but there were political troubles and the residency was canceled. This summer I’m going to Sarah Lawrence College for a weeklong workshop. All three have given me stipends.

These opportunities would not have presented themselves without my Frequency background. I’ve taken over twenty-five classes with Frequency and never left a class feeling unsatisfied….

I encourage anyone to take a Frequency class…. Everyone is welcome, from the non-writer, to those with published books. (fingers crossed I get one someday!)

The Writing

I love getting in the zone, getting totally lost, without even thinking just writing a poem. Those are usually the best. I wrote one called “Kiss Men in Their 70’s and in Their 30’s” on a napkin, while I was waiting for my dinner in a Mexican restaurant. I am often creating poems in my head; I see something and the poem begins. I never remember them. Oh the lost poems in my head!

Kiss Men in Their 70’s & in Their 30’s

to feel love to know love
to touch my toes in love
feel my teeth in love
pull my hair in love
polish my nails in love
walk down the stairs in love
get a new hip in love
slick up my lips in love
let my boyfriend love me in love
perfume my breasts in love
pap my pussy in love
meditate in my chair in love
boy friend moves in in love
smell my pit hairs in love
scrub my dry skin in love
walk on my tippy toes in love
blink my eye lids in love
pucker my lips in love
look in his eyes in love
lust in love
drink margaritas in love
play with dogs in love
pick up chickens in love
let Lettie move to LA in love
drive the highway in love
sing along to the radio in love
buy a dress in love
snuggle in a blanket in love
go in the hot tub in love
talk on the phone in love
look on the net for love in love
wear a crazy hat in love
snowshoe in love
walk an icy path to the chickens in love
wear hearing aids in love
charge up the bitch in love
hug often in love
blab with friends in love
buy stuff in love
get in the pool in love
listen to music in love
write poems in love
divorce in love
eat Indian food in love
have a boyfriend move out in love
pee outside in love
plant a garden in love
hold the grandbabies in love
love the grandbabies in love
kiss in public in love
wash my hair in the tub in love
swim laps in love
imagine the water is your hands in love

To read more of Kik’s spotlight and creative work, visit the Frequency Writers blog.

Make Time to Write: Upcoming Workshops!

This season, Frequency is pleased to offer classes focused on nature, flash fiction, two youth classes including one online, and more!

Tuesdays 5/10: Urban Wildlife: Writing to Co-Exist

Tuesdays 5/8-5/29: Magical Realism

Sundays 6/3-6/24: Sudden Address

Thursdays 6/7-7/12: Preservation Acts

Tuesdays 7/17-8/7: Flash Fiction

Saturday 9/15: Nature Writing

SUMMER YOUTH CLASSES – grades 9 to 12
7/9-7/30: Creative Cartography YOUTH

7/14-8/4: Facing Our Fears: Monsters, Myths & Fairy Tales YOUTH, ONLINE

Click the links above for full course information and registration.

We also offer gift certificates and scholarship opportunities!


Writing can be an uphill journey; more joyful in good company!


Student Spotlight: Everett Epstein

Frequency is honored to feature the voices and writing of community members! Our Student Spotlights bring you the words of some of our inspired writers. If you would like to share your own thoughts, please email coordinator@frequencywriters.org.

The Writer

As a writer, I’m about 40% more observant of the world around me than I am in my everyday life. This makes revising my work always a bit of a surprise. I like to believe that I’m capturing the textures of a character’s world or the subtle nuances of conversation, but often I find drafts overwritten or too flourish-y.

That said, the process of rereading my own writing instructs as often as it embarrasses; revisiting a sentence, a paragraph, a story allegorizes that daily act of toggling between selves, between presence and detachment. This divergence, I hope, clarifies both selves:             the one on paper and off.

The former likes clarity, precision, and an adherence to detail (often exaggerated by parenthetical asides). He also loves to leave things a bit opaque. The latter teaches high school English, listens to emo music, follows the Houston Rockets, and uses a SonicCare Toothbrush. They’re both invested in the zine form and the intersection between graphic design and fiction.

To read some of Everett’s Epstein’s creative writing check out, “Lyndon, Reticulate.”

The Community

Everett’s writing is featured in the Frequency Writers anthologiesMissing Providence and City & Sea. He has taken over six Frequency Writers workshops.

Victor Wildman’s courses have stuck with me for their keen commitment to complexity and academic rigor; yet, I find the practical value of the readings and suggested prompts becomes clearer as I revisit assignments for my own practice….

S. Tourjee’s workshop…engaged me in zine design, which has been enormously impactful and generative. I still consider the final assignment: binding and then decaying the writings produced through the workshop. Often, I’ll find myself unwilling to kill darling sentences; having permission to rip a story into confetti was so liberating!

As a writing instructor myself, Frequency has been transformative for my teaching craft…. [M]any of the readings suggested in class, I’ve recycled to challenge high school students to think of their writing in more rigorous terms….

Beyond teaching, I think Frequency has forced me to more readily set aside time to observe, focus, and construct new writing. Doing so has (I hope) improved my design craft — having text to manipulate, collate, and bind…. I imagine that others share this feeling of growth in their practice: whether two or three-dimensional.

I would invite people looking to grow as observers and listeners to join Frequency…. Frequency workshops ask you gently and kindly to decouple yourself from your ego and attend to other people’s work and the world around you. Anyone caught up in themselves would benefit from the empathy and quietude that these workshops cultivate. I feel at my best — at my most attuned — after leaving class, a testament to the instructors, prompts, and Frequency community.

Write to Antonio’s Soundscapes: “Tearing Paper Becomes a Symphony Orchestra”


Join us this Sunday for another dreamy morning.

Sunday, April 15, 2018, 10:30AM, Ada Books
717 Westminster Street
with Antonio Forte
$5-10 suggested donation
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Antonio Forte is a composer, musician, and educator from Providence, RI. He studied both music and fine art nationally and internationally. As a sound artist Antonio explores improvisatory processes which document ones relationship to changes in temporality and spatiality. He enjoys sounds and things that create sounds. https://www.antonioforte.org/

IMG_6390“I am quite intent on seeking out new or obscure sounds, or ways of creating sounds, and treat them as if they are commonplace or traditional. Inversely, to observe everyday sounds and treat them as magnificent wonders of the universe. By these physical and aesthetic means the (imaginary) line between mundane and arcane is blurred.

Tearing paper becomes a symphony orchestra becomes a microwave oven becomes an exotic bird song becomes a bus engine. What enamors me the most as an artist are the instances in time and space wherein a boundary becomes a stepping stone; when preconceived limitations facilitate movement, these are the moments I thirst for, thrive in, and prefer to inhabit.”

Writing Sounds Lounge is a drop-in event that invites attendees to write while listening. Guest musicians from the Providence community will perform while attendees are invited (but certainly not required) to write to specified prompts related to sound and listening. No writing experience required; you will not be asked to share your work. Bring some coffee and a notebook and sit among the books on Sunday morning.

Thank You for Sharing your Voices!

Thank you to all of our participants in the writings and discussions at our free Pop-up Poetry event, honoring National Poetry Month!

In partnership with the RI Historical Society and the John Brown House-Museum, Frequency Writers’ Programs Coordinator MacKenzie Abernethy led activities on incorporating multiple perspectives across time and social backgrounds.

We look forward to future collaborations. Keep writing! Keep asking questions!


Pop-up Poetry with Frequency & RI Historical Society at John Brown House

Rhode Island Historical Society‘s monthly Netop Nights event will this week feature special guest MacKenzie Abernethy, Programs Coordinator at Frequency Writers, who will lead a poetry workshop in exploration of the exhibits and the John Brown family’s complex role in the foundation of Rhode Island and beyond. We will explore often hidden histories through different types of reliable sources that offer diverse perspectives.

Plus, the John Brown House Museum will showcase collection items related to the craft of writing!

Thursday, April 5th, 6-8pm.  John Brown House Museum. FREE & open to all.

More info. on the FB event page and RSVP form: goo.gl/VPx9wN.

Netop Nights pop-up creativre writing workshop RIHS

Student Spotlight: Mike Crowley

Frequency is honored to feature the voices and writing of community members. Our Student Spotlights bring you the words of some of our inspired writers. If you would like to share your own thoughts, please email coordinator@frequencywriters.org.

The Writer

With writing I don’t really have a clue, no plan no theme nothing really.
When I write I usually I go someplace. In addition to my own backyard, I have the George B. Slater Memorial Grove just outside of Pawtuxet Village with a distant view of the Providence river, or I drive all the way to Beaver Tail Lighthouse or up to Lincoln Woods or to the Providence Athenaeum.

I have an 8’ x 11 Mead spiral notebook, a black Uniball, and I’ll sit at a desk, in my car or on the rocks and stare at my notebook until some words come.

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For example, I might start: “At my usual spot near the cove, Providence River low tide, a couple of swans, gulls, crows… Almost quiet. A distant plane. Doppler drizzle hits the metal roof.”  Writing like this goes on for a page or two. Then a day, week, or years later I’ll look through the notebook and find lines and connections that I type up as a poem. For me, form comes later, way after I’ve got the words.

A Place to Land
It’s good to have someplace to go,
someplace from which to come,
a color scheme, an action plan,
a girl next door,
the why and wherefore,
will and won’t,
do and whatever you do, don’t;
a never never and a place to land
a pause in the warp and weave,
all hands on deck, hearts on sleeve,
heads that roll, a lost and found
and hills with variegated hues
when the sun sets, then night looms.

The Community

Frequency workshops are a joy.  I always wind up reading a lot of new (to me) poets and filling a notebook. I’ve taken a lot of Frequency workshops over the past few years, dealing with reading and writing poetry.

I remember it was a little intimidating to walk in, the first time, to sit down with 10 people I’d never met and share my writing. But the atmosphere is always relaxed, without pressure to produce.

The age range seemed to go from collage age to Baby Boomers, and anybody in between. There were no levels of proficiency or writing experience needed. No style required. Some members may never have written anything and/or shared it with others before.

My first workshop was led by Darcie Dennigan; an inspired and inspiring teacher and poet. The group would read a few published poems and talk a little bit about them. Then Darcy would make some suggestions for writing; sometimes with a specific prompt, sometimes just free-writing for 5 or so minutes. Members of the group can share or not share what they produced.

There’s no need to be brilliant, no pressure to compete.

Over the past few years, workshops with Frequency have always gotten me to write more, both in the workshop as well as afterwards. In all of the number of workshops I’ve taken, I’ve left with extensive and thoughtful feedback from the group.