About Hila Ratzabi


Ever since I published my first poem at the age of seven in a local newspaper in Queens, New York, I have been obsessed with words. This obsession took me through a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing at Barnard College (2003), a second bachelor’s degree in Jewish Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary (2003), and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing at Sarah Lawrence College (2007), followed by years of working in the publishing industry in my hometown of New York City.

In 2011, I moved to Philadelphia and created the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop, where I hosted workshops and poetry readings. In 2015, I joined the staff of Ritualwell.org, where I now serve as Managing Editor. I also work with many clients as a writing coach and freelance editor, in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. In 2018, I moved to Rehovot, Israel, where I continue to work remotely for Ritualwell and private clients. My greatest joy as an editor, writing coach, and workshop leader is to help writers look more closely at their work and to coax great ideas into their best form of expression in language.


Hila Ratzabi was selected by Adrienne Rich as a recipient of a National Writers Union Poetry Prize, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and received an Amy Award. She was a finalist in the Narrative Fifth Annual Poetry Contest (2013). She is the author of the chapbook The Apparatus of Visible Things (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry is published or is forthcoming in Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, Drunken Boat, The Adroit Journal, Linebreak, and other journals, and in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Anthology. She has received scholarships and fellowships to the Willapa Bay AiR residency, the Vermont Studio Center, the Crater Lake National Park residency, and the Arctic Circle Residency. She is the former editor-in-chief and poetry editor of the literary journal Storyscape (2011–2017) and the founder of the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop. She currently lives in Rehovot, Israel. She is the Managing Editor of Ritualwell.org, and a freelance editor and writing coach.

Ratzabi holds an MFA in Poetry Writing from Sarah Lawrence College (2007), a BA in English from Barnard College (2003), and a BA in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary (2003).


The Apparatus of Visible Things. Chapbook by Hila Ratzabi. Published by Finishing Line Press, 2009.

Click here to read sample poems
“Hila Ratzabi’s poems are pleasurable because they are so finely balanced. They are wonderful because of what they balance so finely–a concrete, expressive love for the sensuous details of the world with an equally evolved, equally startling capacity for rumination, abstraction, and metaphysical grandeur.”

Vijay Seshadri

“Hila Ratzabi reminds us that Pessoa, like Wittgenstein, is one of the many who suggested the radical optical world when introspection seemed doomed. But her own poetry meets the data that perception and consciousness are twins and married and embrace: think, look. Her world contains babies, boys, air conditioners, and desks, but it is also a notebook of unanswerable questions. Out of these carnal doubts she makes a faithful late language … Hila turns her painterly poems into a mountain, into mounds of ideas.”

David Shapiro

“I have read (and reread) these craft-wise poems. They are simultaneously strangely imaged–extraordinarily so–while accessible and wonderfully lyric. Even more important are the questions this poet asks of us: relentless, but mostly heavenly, fearful, and hope-filled.”

Kate Knapp Johnson


Prayer Before Turning on the News,” Narrative Magazine
Prayer for Solomon Teka,” Poets Resist series, Glass: A Journal of Poetry
And There Was Morning: A Prayer for New Zealand,” Ritualwell.org
How To Pray While the World Burns,” Ritualwell.org
November 9, 2016,” About Place
Imaginary Arctic,” “But now the stark dignity of entrance,” Glass: A Journal of Poetry
“Willapa Bay,” “Nocturne,” The Adroit Journal
Picnic on the Moon,” Queen’s Mob Teahouse
Diary of Sila the Sky God,” Tinderbox Poetry Journal
Goat,” Tahoma Literary Review
Visitation [The first time it happened],” LEVELER
Sensible Elements,” “Visitation [Sometimes I ignore them],” Life & Legends, third edition, June 2015
Visitation [The spirits line up],” The Boiler Journal, Summer 2015
Hawk,” “Escape from the Crocodile Farm,” “Burning the Squirrels,” Verse-Virtual, May 2015
The Attainable Border of Birds,” “The Path to the Bench in Snow,” Verse-Virtual, June 2015
Gould Hill Road,” The Nervous Breakdown, March 19, 2015
Letter from the North,” Linebreak, Jan. 13, 2015
Omnipresence is an Evolutionary Talent,” “End of the Anthropocene,” Anthropoid, issue 1
The Benefits of Global Warming,” Dark Mountain, issue 6
Of the veritable ocean,” “Google Earth,About Place, 3.1
“Crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge the Day Before the End of the World,” Drunken Boat 18
“Sedna in Space,” Narrative Magazine
Sedna’s Lecture to the Fish,” “Sedna in Texas,” Apiary Magazine
Sedna the Arctic Sea Goddess,” Alaska Quarterly Review
“Ancient Human-Bone Sculptors Turned Relatives Into Tools,” “Flooded Man,” The Normal School
“No One Blue” (excerpt), Bone Bouquet
Three poemsBox of Jars
“Portrait and a Dream,” H_NGM_N
Three poems, Mead Magazine
“Aubade,” Cortland Review
“Horatio Street,” Coal Hill Review (nominated for Pushcart Prize)
“Sound Alone,” Southern Poetry Review
“Ways of Leaving,” Margie (finalist for Editors’ Prize)
“To Pray,” Mima’amakim
“The Hasidim,” Zeek
“After Sepia Photographs,” Zeek
“Playing Eve,” Zeek


Why I Meditate In Public, The Wisdom Daily
Meditation Sucks. Which Is Why You Should Do It, The Wisdom Daily
Amidst the Chaos of Moving Abroad, I Began to Find Myself, The Wisdom Daily
Social Media Care in Difficult Times, The Wisdom Daily
When Is the Right Time to Heal?, on gun violence, racism, and healing, Ritualwell.org

Articles on MyJewishLearning: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/author/hila-ratzabi/
That Time Someone Painted a Swastika on My Neighbor’s Trash Can, Kveller
Invisible Revisions: One Jewish Perspective on Interfaith RelationshipsForward
Wanted: Mexican MezuzahWashington Post (link no longer available)
We Need Self-Care Rituals Now More Than Ever
, EJewishPhilanthropy

What Do We Tell Our Kids When the News Is Filled With Profanity?, Kveller
Becoming a New Mother in an Era of Hate, Kveller
Why My Mexican-Jewish Son Needs a Woman President, Kveller
This Is Why I’m Bringing My Baby to a Work Conference, Kveller
Yes, My Kid Is Jewish, Even Though His Name Doesn’t Sound Like It, Kveller
Incubated from the World: A Premature Birth Story
, MUTHA Magazine
The Best Way to Avoid Unsolicited Advice During Pregnancy, Kveller
I Can’t Fast Because I’m Pregnant–Will Yom Kippur Mean Anything to Me?
, Kveller

Women and the Global Imagination: Reimagining the Myth of Sedna
, Prairie Schooner blog
How to Make the Most of a Writing ResidencyH_NGM_N blog

Finding Myself in Philly, New Worker
Taking the Girl out of New York
Freerange Nonfiction
Feeling the CirclesAnthem Journal (link no longer available)
Report from Zone 6Anthem Journal (link no longer available)


“Verbal Deliruim”: An Overdue Translation of Manoel de Barros’s Surrealist PoetryDrunken Boat
How to Be Jewish, Israeli, Muslim, and Palestinian, All at the Same TimeJewish Daily Forward
Barefoot Voice: The Insecurity of Language in Li-Young Lee’s Behind My EyesValparaiso Poetry Review, Volume X1, Number 2
Jewish Lesbian Poetry for a New GenerationJewish Daily Forward
The Other Jews: Secularism, Kabbalah, and Radical PoeticsZeek


Meet Hila Ratzabi: Poet, New Jewish Mom & Champion Schlepper, An interview with Joanna C. Valente, Kveller
On Passing & Whiteness: Jewish Poets Speak Out, Kenyon Review blog
Poet Q, Poet A: Jews Are Funny! Six Poets on Jewish Humor, Poetry, Activism, & Survival, Zeek
Poet Q, Poet A: Six Poets Talk Topography & Landscape, Zeek
Poet Q, Poet A: Six Poets Talk about Jewish “Authenticity,” Identity, Mapping & Archetypes, Zeek
An Eco-Interview with Hila Ratzabi, Minerva Rising
Partners in Poetry: An Interview with Aby Kaupang and Matthew CoopermanDrunken Boat
Aaron Roller interviews Hila Ratzabi, Mima’amkim
Nothing Mystical About It: An Interview with Jorie Graham, Lumina