22
Oct 15

Look, ma, we’re in the paper!

I’m thrilled to share that the Philadelphia Inquirer has written a very generous account of the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop and reading series. After doing this for two years, it means a lot to get the recognition, especially all the wondeful quotes by current and past participants. It’s been a joy to create this space for poetry!


15
Oct 15

“Getting That Baby Out”: Writing Coaching As Birth

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Hila Ratzabi (left) during writing coaching session. Photo by Adriano Martino.

These days I have much to kvell about: one of my writing coaching clients, who had never been published before, had his first short story published, plus two more accepted for publication. Another client, also never published before, just had her memoir published to much (well deserved!) acclaim.

My first reaction to these successes is pride. I’m so moved to have played a part in sheparding my clients’ work toward publication and recognition. It’s gratifying to see the fruits of one’s labor, especially in terms of measurable success. My second reaction is awe and humility, not at the role I played in the process, but in my clients themselves. I could never have done the work for them. I watched my clients work on their projects for months, and ultimately, their dedication to the craft of writing, their tenacity, their willingness to hear suggestions, to try new techniques in their work, to become aware of their strengths and habits, to revise as much as is necessary all led to their success.

On occasion I have started the writing coaching process with a client who was not willing (or able at the time) to do the work. We might have met up once or had one conversation, and it was clear that they were not ready to go all in. Making a real commitment to your writing project is a big deal. There are often many starts and stops when it comes to committing to your writing project. It is easy to get off track or want an easy solution to deeper issues in the writing (sometimes a client insists they just need editing, but often much more work on the part of the writer is necessary). Sticking with the work over time and being willing to go deep and challenge yourself and, again, to really do the work does pay off. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to go through many rejections and “failures” along the way. But endurance is key.

I’ve recently been reading books on childbirth, and one of the best pieces of advice that I came across was: No one will give birth to this baby for you. You can read all the books, have the best doula, the best midwife or doctor, but you’re the one who has to get that baby out. This feels very close to my experience with my writing coaching clients. Like a doula, I can coach my clients through the process, but they are the only ones who can get their babies out into the world. And I’ll be celebrating when that happens.


05
Aug 15

Fall 2015 Poetry Workshop Dates Announced!

I am thrilled to share that the Red Sofa Poetry Workshop is back! The Fall 2015 workshop will likely be the last offering for a while (as a few of my friends already know, I’m pregnant)! So if you’ve been hoping to join, now is the time to do so. I can’t wait to welcome new and familiar faces to our next workshop series! Details below. Registration due by Sept. 27th. Register early as space will fill up.

FALL 2015 RED SOFA POETRY WORKSHOP

Six Sundays, October 4th – November 8th, 12:00–2:30pm

Open_House_2015

Photo by Sonia Petruse

Taking place in a cozy West Philadelphia living room, the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop is a supportive community in which to grow as writers. Each week we’ll read and discuss a published poem, offer feedback on each other’s poems, and engage in generative writing exercises. Homemade vegetarian food, wine, and drinks are included. Your seat is waiting at the Red Sofa!

  • Nurture your poetry writing practice
  • Become part of a community of poets
  • Share poems and receive feedback in a safe and supportive environment
  • Enjoy delicious homemade food & drink
  • Workshop is limited to 12 writers, and the exact address will be given to attendees
  • Price: $240
  • Questions? Email Hila at redsofasalon@gmail.com

Register at the form below by Sept. 27th

 

Policy

Enrollment in the workshop assumes attendance at all meetings. There will be no refunds for missed dates. Payment in full is required by the first day of workshop. Cash, check, and credit card are accepted.

07
Mar 15

New workshop offering! From Narrow Place to Freedom: A Passover Workshop on Writer’s Block, March 29th

From Narrow Place to Freedom: A Passover Workshop on Writer’s Block

Renew your writing practice during this season of rebirth

Water-freedom_largeAt one time or another, all writers experience dry spells, lack of inspiration, or a feeling of being stuck in their writing. Instead of pushing away so-called writer’s block, there are techniques that encourage us to embrace and use our blocks as part of the creative process. The classic story of Passover is a journey from oppression to liberation. It is often interpreted as a moment in the cycle of the year where we can examine and find freedom from our personal Mizrayim, “narrow place.” This workshop will use Jewish mystical teachings on Passover, meditative techniques, and guided writing exercises to invite us to accept that which constrains us and write through our blocks toward a place of freedom. You will leave with fresh drafts and a sense of renewal and recommitment to your writing goals. This workshop is open to writers of all levels of experience, genres, and backgrounds. Light snacks will be served. Workshop is limited to 12 writers, and the exact address will be given to attendees.

  • Sunday, March 29th, 1:00–3:00pm
  • At the Red Sofa Salon, West Philadelphia
  • Sliding scale investment: $18–$36

01
Feb 15

My client’s debut memoir book cover revealed!

I’m so proud to share that my client, Lene Fogelberg, has just shared the gorgeous cover of her debut memoir, Beautiful Affliction: A Memoir of Surviving Heart Disease, forthcoming from She Writes Press. I had the honor to work with Lene on this memoir, which even in its first draft was impossible to put down. In draft after draft, I watched the story find its shape, the writing tighten and distill to become even more powerful than my first read.

One thing I love about non-fiction is that often the telling of the story is more compelling than the subject matter itself. Some people are drawn to non-fiction, understandably, because of a personal connection or interest in the subject matter. As someone who hasn’t had a connection to the subject of heart disease, I wouldn’t necessarily have been drawn to a story like this. But the quality of the narrative––the way the author takes us through her psychological experiences living with a disease that for years was a mystery to her and her doctors, the way she carries us back and forth from childhood and adolescence through to the present––is what kept me enthralled. I can’t wait to hold a copy of this book in my hands!

BEAUTIFUL-AFFLICTION-cover


30
Jan 15

2nd Story Brewing to Sponsor March 20th Reading!

Poetry lovers, we are thrilled to announce that 2nd Story Brewing will be our drink sponsor for our spectacular March 20th reading, featuring Ross Gay, Rosebud Ben-Oni, and Ailish Hopper. Remember, this is the only reading of our spring season, so save the date, and better yet, get your advanced discount tickets while they last!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/red-sofa-reading-series-featuring-ross-gay-rosebud-ben-oni-and-ailish-hopper-tickets-15485915791

2nd_Story_Logo_Vertical


25
Jan 15

Get your advanced tickets for Red Sofa Reading Series March 20th Featuring Ross Gay, Rosebud Ben-Oni, and Ailish Hopper

March 20, 2015: Red Sofa Reading Series
Indy Hall
22 North 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
redsofasalon@gmail.com
7:00pm
Tickets: $7 in advance, $10 at the door
Get your discounted tickets now!

Sponsored by 2nd Story Brewing!

2nd_Story_Logo_Vertical

ross_gayRosebud Ben-Oni Fall 2014ailish_hopper_photo

 

 

 

Ross Gay is the author of Against Which (CavanKerry Press, 2006) and Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). His poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewMARGIE, Ploughshares and many other magazines. He has also, with the artist Kimberly Thomas, collaborated on several artists’ books: The Cold Loop, BRN2HNT and The Bullet. He is an editor with the chapbook press Q Avenue. Ross Gay received his M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and his Ph.D. in American Literature from Temple University. He teaches in the creative writing program at Indiana University.

Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a CantoMundo Fellow. She was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan, and a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013) and an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts (vidaweb.org). Her work is forthcoming or appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, Bayou, Puerto del Sol, among others. Find out more about her at 7TrainLove.org.

Ailish Hopper is the author of Dark~Sky Society (2014), selected by David St. John as runner up for the New Issues prize, and the chapbook Bird in the Head (2005), selected by Jean Valentine for the Center for Book Arts Prize. Individual poems have appeared in AgniAPR, Blackbird, Harvard Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tidal Basin Review, and other places. She is currently at work on an essay that imagines the world after the reign of white supremacy, and the difficulties of imagining possibility. She has received support from the Baltimore Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the MacDowell Colony, Maryland State Arts Council, and Yaddo, and teaches at Goucher College and in the visual art MFA program at University of Maryland Baltimore County.

CONTACT: Hila Ratzabi
redsofasalon@gmail.com
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13
Jan 15

Announcing the Winter/Spring 2015 Workshop Schedule

Red Sofa Open House, Jan. 11, 2015. Photo by Sonia Petruse.

Red Sofa Open House, Jan. 11, 2015. Photo by Sonia Petruse.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting two inspiring Red Sofa events: Friday was our first reading of the new year featuring three incredible poets & writers, and Sunday was the workshop open house. The energy at both events was infectious and nourishing for me and for those who were present.

Now is the time to make a commitment to your poetry writing practice and join the winter/spring workshop series. As always, the workshop includes homemade vegetarian food, wine, & drinks, and a supportive community in which to grow in your practice. Workshops include optional writing exercises, close readings of poems, and critiques of works in progress, in addition to an optional one-on-one conference with me. The workshop will run for 10 weeks on Sundays (1:00–3:30pm) starting Feb. 1st. The cost for the series is $400. Registration deadline is January 28th.

Special early bird discount of $20 off if you register by January 25th.

REGISTER NOW

If you have any questions, please email me at redsofasalon@gmail.com. I’m saving you a seat at the Red Sofa!

Hila


10
Dec 14

Announcing Winter/Spring 2015 Red Sofa Reading Series

I’m very happy to announce the Winter/Spring 2015 Red Sofa Reading Series coming up January 9th and March 20th! Mark your calendars!

January 9, 2015: Red Sofa Reading Series
Indy Hall
22 North 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
redsofasalon@gmail.com
7:00pm
Tickets: $7 in advance, $10 at the door
Get your discounted tickets now!

nemser_p

Paul Lisicky is the author of five books: Lawnboy, Famous Builder, The Burning House, Unbuilt Projects, and The Narrow Door, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2015. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Tin House, Unstuck, and elsewhere. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Michener/Copernicus Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has twice been a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He currently teaches in the MFA Program at Rutgers-Camden, the low residency program at Sierra Nevada College, and at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute. He is the editor ofStoryQuarterly and serves on the Writing Committee of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Paul Nemser is the author of Taurus, which won the New American Poetry Prize (New American Press, 2013) and a chapbook of prose poetry, Tales of the Tetragrammaton (Mayapple Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in many magazines over the years, such as AGNIBlackbird, ColumbiaFulcrum, Poetry, Raritan, TriQuarterly, and Tupelo Quarterly. His work was recently the weekly feature at Linebreak, and he has poems forthcoming at Third Coast and London Review of Books. He lives in Cambridge, MA, and Harborside, ME, with his wife Rebecca.

Anne-Adele Wight is the author of Sidestep Catapult and Opera House Arterial, both published by BlazeVOX. Her work has appeared in American Writing, Philadelphia Poets, Tabula Rasa, Shrike, Apiary, Fairies in America, Luna Luna, and elsewhere. She has read extensively in the Philadelphia area and other locales. She curates the monthly Jubilant Thicket performance series and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two cats.

CONTACT: Hila Ratzabi
redsofasalon@gmail.com
Subscribe to Red Sofa Salon newsletter

March 20, 2015: Red Sofa Reading Series
Indy Hall
22 North 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
redsofasalon@gmail.com
7:00pm
Tickets: $7 in advance, $10 at the door
Get your discounted tickets now!

ross_gayRosebud Ben-Oni Fall 2014ailish_hopper_photo

 

 

 

Ross Gay is the author of Against Which (CavanKerry Press, 2006) and Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). His poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewMARGIE, Ploughshares and many other magazines. He has also, with the artist Kimberly Thomas, collaborated on several artists’ books: The Cold Loop, BRN2HNT and The Bullet. He is an editor with the chapbook press Q Avenue. Ross Gay received his M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and his Ph.D. in American Literature from Temple University. He teaches in the creative writing program at Indiana University.

Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a CantoMundo Fellow. She was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan, and a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013) and an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts (vidaweb.org). Her work is forthcoming or appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, Bayou, Puerto del Sol, among others. Find out more about her at 7TrainLove.org.

Ailish Hopper is the author of Dark~Sky Society (2014), selected by David St. John as runner up for the New Issues prize, and the chapbook Bird in the Head (2005), selected by Jean Valentine for the Center for Book Arts Prize. Individual poems have appeared in AgniAPR, Blackbird, Harvard Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tidal Basin Review, and other places. She is currently at work on an essay that imagines the world after the reign of white supremacy, and the difficulties of imagining possibility. She has received support from the Baltimore Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the MacDowell Colony, Maryland State Arts Council, and Yaddo, and teaches at Goucher College and in the visual art MFA program at University of Maryland Baltimore County.

CONTACT: Hila Ratzabi
redsofasalon@gmail.com
Subscribe to Red Sofa Salon newsletter


16
Nov 14

Photos from Full Bleed Opening Night!

Thank you to CJ Dawson Photography for taking these amazing photos from our opening night event of the Full Bleed Poetry Comics show! Artwork is continuing to sell out fast at our online store. Hurry up and get yours! And enjoy the photos!

hila-first-friday-comic-poetry-november-2014-176-2


20
Oct 14

Nov. 6–7, 2014: Two Special Events! FULL BLEED: Poetry Comics Show

Poster by Bianca Stone

Poster by Bianca Stone

Nov. 6–7, 2014: Two Special Events!

FULL BLEED: Poetry Comics Show

“The visual has always been an important means of communication, from caveman paintings, to graphic novels, to IKEA instruction manuals. We know it fits in somewhere with poetry, beginning with how poets and artists have always looked lovingly upon one another, and ending somewhere more uncharted. … Poetry and poets who interact with the visual has limitless implications, from traditional use of the comic-strip and comic book, to a much more experimental use of text and image. I wish to go boldly, willingly, into Poetry Comics, and see what people are doing out there. I’m not entirely concerned with defining what I mean by Poetry Comics, but rather seeing how many tiny silver arrows we can launch at it. And perhaps how many it can launch back at us.” –Bianca Stone

FULL BLEED celebrates the art of the poetry comic. In the same way that full bleed printing expands to the edge of the page, poetry comics dilate across genre lines. Poetry as bleeding heart mixes with the whimsy of comics to produce work that startles and ignites. Word and image hold hands, tell each other stories, console each other, party together.

Artwork from the show is now available for sale online! Visit our store to view pieces.

FEATURED POETS AND ARTISTS
Bianca Stone
is the co-founder and editor of Monk Books, author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and co-author of Antigonick, with Anne Carson (New Directions, 2012). She founded the Ruth Stone Foundation in 2012 and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Matthea Harvey is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Of Lamb and If the Tabloids are True What are You? and two books for children.

Sommer Browning‘s most recent book of poetry is Backup Singers (Birds, LLC; 2014). She is also the author of Either Way I’m Celebrating (Birds, LLC; 2011), a collection of poetry and comics, and various chapbooks. She works as a librarian in Denver.

Sampson Starkweather is the author of The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather. He is a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. His most recent chapbook is Flowers of Rad by Factory Hollow Press, and he lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Jon-Michael Frank has work published or forthcoming in Anti-, Inter/rupture, Sink Review, Sixth Finch, and Spork Press, among others. A chapbook of poems is forthcoming from Birds LLC, and another chapbook, of comics, is being released by El Aleph Press in 2014. Jon-Michael is also an assistant editor for the small press Birds, LLC, helps run a reading series in Austin, TX, called Fun Party, and sells illustrations about life, or the lack of it, on etsy.

Annie Mok makes comics, collaboratively and solo, acts, and sings in the pop group See-Through Girls. She lives in Philadelphia. “Shadow Manifesto” is a three-part series that ran on ZEAL, a website spotlighting criticism and responses to video games.

Paul Siegell is the author of wild life rifle fire, jambandbootleg, and Poemergency Room. He is a copywriter at the Philadelphia Inquirer and a senior editor at Painted Bride Quarterly. Kindly find more of Paul’s work – and concrete poetry t-shirts – at “ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL” (http://paulsiegell.blogspot.com/).

Emily Ballas is a Philadelphia-based graphic designer, for now. She is an eager, curious type. Design-wise and otherwise. Part builder, experimenter, and storyteller, Emily’s work can be found at www.emilyballas.com.

CURATOR
Hila Ratzabi is a poet and freelance editor. She is the author of the chapbook The Apparatus of Visible Things (Finishing Line Press, 2009). She is founder of the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop (and reading series) in Philadelphia, and the editor-in-chief and poetry editor of the literary journal Storyscape.

FULL BLEED: Poetry Comics Show
Thursday November 6th, 7:00pm
Exhibit preview and poetry reading featuring:
Bianca Stone
Sommer Browning
Sampson Starkweather
Annie Mok
Paul Siegell

Hosted by Hila Ratzabi

Friday November 7th, 5:00–9:00pm
First Friday opening night
Complimentary cupcakes from Whipped Bakeshop!
Live, sliding-scale sketch portraits of guests by artist Annie Mok!

Both events are free and take place at Indy Hall

Indy Hall, 22 N. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106
@indyhall_arts
@redsofasalon
#fullbleed


27
Jul 14

A Beautiful Collaboration

In spring 2013, I had the good fortune of having poet MaryAnn Miller join my Urban Nature Ecopoetry Workshop. From day 1 she was hooked; the workshop theme was right up her alley. It was wonderful to see MaryAnn’s poems in response to the environment, and yesterday we got to read together at Big Blue Marble Bookstore as part of an event called “For the Love of this Blue Planet: An Evening of Ecopoetry.” We also revealed the results of a collaboration. MaryAnn designed and printed broadsides of my poem, “Sedna the Arctic Sea Goddess,” originally published in Alaska Quarterly Review. I’m happy to announce the the limited edition broadside is now available for sale. Take a look, and enjoy! May your artistic collaborations be fruitful!