Cindy Frenkel

Cindy is a poet, essayist, editor, and teacher who lives in Metro Detroit.



The Plague of the Tender-Hearted, Cindy's chapbook, may be ordered now from Finishing Line Press. To hear Cindy read a sample from that collection, click here .


To learn the backstory about the book, please read Linda Sienkiewicz's blog where she asks Cindy "What, Why, and How."



Order the book here



With her three-part alchemy of plain speaking, suddenly perfect metaphors, and explosive, morally anchored last lines, Cindy Frenkel portrays a family in The Plague of the Tender-Hearted. From the witty to the elegiac, the poems quest for the why beneath a brother’s suicide and examine the underside of prosperity. But the marvels of this collection are the sassy buoyant poems of love for a daughter and unexpected love after divorce. Frenkel uses memory, the dynamics of ageing parents, and the legacy of the holocaust to pierce us with her bullseye poetic one-liners. The Plague of the Tender-Hearted, with its gem-like rhymes, is both an exploration and a revelation.


–Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst and Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems



In The Plague of the Tender-Hearted, Cindy Frenkel makes her way through the maze of family death, divorce, even a brother’s suicide without ever losing the ability to embrace joys small and large. Despite heart-rending troubles there is still beauty in the natural world, the discovery of an unlikely new love, and moments with a beloved daughter when night “stars spill out, / enough to occupy the universe.”


–Mary Jo Firth Gillett



The poems in Cindy Frenkel’s chapbook The Plague of the Tender-Hearted sear and delight. There are the brave, wrenching poems reanimating her beloved brother who took his own life. There are poems that sing with painful memory and even more painful love. There is the poignant poem spanning three generations of women, a trefoil of “roles reversed, everything askew.” Frenkel’s four-line “Elegy” is as powerful in its brevity as her "Anatomy of Color,” an ode to spring that unfurls over two pages. I cannot decide which I favor more, “This has been” or “Raising her is better than.” The former is a poem to her lover; the latter a love poem to her daughter. Fortunately I don’t have to choose. The Plague of the Tender-Hearted will rest on my nightstand for quite a while.


- Debra Darvick




Switching Gears:
Less Teaching, More Writing

Cindy's article "How to Set Healthy Boundaries Around What You Share Online" recently appeared on


"The Art of Observance" -- Cindy Frenkel read poems that focused on delighting in the smallest detail: Seeing the world's marvel closely helps usher in joy. Additionally, she briefly read about the darker side, including suicide awareness and prevention. The reading took place via Zoom at 7 pm Eastern time on April 28th, 2022. Here's a link to the Zoom recording.


Cindy read via Zoom with Dennis Hinrichsen to kick off National Poetry Month at the Royal Oak Public Library on April 4th, 2022 Watch/listen to the reading here.


Pink Panther Presents and DWGuild Bring You a Virtual Poetry Reading on March 8th, 2022 at 6:45 p.m., Featuring Zilka Joseph, Joy Gaines-Friedler, Cindy Frenkel, and Jenifer DeBellis. Tune into this event via Facebook live streaming at or request a private invite to attend the Zoom session (in the FB comments section or by direct message).


Cindy's recent poem about thugs, including The Purple Gang, appeared recently in Nu? Detroit. Here's the link.


Cindy, along with Theresa Lin and Nathaniel Berry, read during Columbia University’s “Columbia Selects” 7pm EST on December 9th via Zoom. Columbia Selects is the Writing Program’s storied alumni reading series. Watch here.


Meet the Author: Cindy Frenkel, The Plague of the Tender-Hearted

Please join us for this wonderful opportunity to meet Cindy Frenkel, Michigan author and educator speaking about her chapbook, The Plague of the Tender-Hearted. She will also discuss its back story, including owning her voice in her late middle years, as well as diminishing the stigma of mental illness and addiction, all while replacing it with intimacy, purpose, and humor. The evening will be filled with insight and reflection on topics we call all relate to in our lives. Learn more here.


WHEN: Tuesday, November 16 at 1pm Eastern time



Cindy's work appears in the newly released international anthology, Divining Dante (Recent Works Press, Canberra, Australia), celebrating the 700th anniversary of the death of the great poet.


Two of Cindy's poems are forthcoming in the anthology Poets Speaking to Poets: Echoes and Tributes.


On August 30, 2021, Cindy was interviewed by The New York Corner's Literary Parrot. Watch it here.


Cindy appeared at The Book Beat from 1:30-3pm on Sunday, August 15th, along with other authors, to celebrate Book Beat's 39th anniversary. Learn more here!


On August 8th, 11am-2pm, Cindy was at an outdoor Summer Book Bash to kick off the 70th Anniversary Season of the Detroit Jewish Book Fair at the Jewish Community Center on Drake Road in West Bloomfield.

Other News

Cindy's article "Teaching Classic Lit Helps Game Designers Make Better Stories" is live on WIRED. Read it here!


On Friday, October 30th 2020 , Jenifer Smythe DeBellis interviewed Cindy on Pink Panther Magazine's, PPM's AUTHOR TALK, Live-podcast-vlog.


Cindy spoke via Zoom at the Jewish Book Fair on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020. View it here!


Cindy read with the acclaimed poet Molly Peacock, as well as Dawn McDuffie and Christine Rhein, for ML Liebler’s online series, The Living Room, on Sunday, July 12th 2020. Watch it here!


Cindy and her new book of poetry were recently featured in The Jewish News. Read the article here.


Recent Poems in Print

Three poems were in Pink Panther Magazine. Three poems appeared in The MacGuffin; to read one of them, click here. Four of her poems were recently in LTU's PRISM. One of twenty poets invited to be paired with painters, Frenkel was asked to contribute to the exhibition Scattered Ecstasies, in Windsor, Ontario. Each poem was performed by an actor, complete with a painting created to complement the writing. Click here to read the poem.


Teaching News:

Cindy taught Creative Writing for Video Gamers, the class she designed with guidance from other faculty, at Lawrence Technological University.


Published overseas, “Fifteen lessons from nine years of teaching” appears in Writing in Education, Issue Number 76, published by the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE).

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson