May 14

Whitman in the Woods

This Sunday was the second workshop in the Urban Nature Ecopoetry series. We set up a picnic by the sandy shore of Wissahickon Creek, read poetry of the Romantics and Trascendentalists, and wrote our own poems inspired by our readings and the natural surroundings. It was a perfect spring evening! Check out the pics below, and please join us for this Thursday’s (May 22) workshop at Bartram’s Gardens where we’ll be reading William Carlos Williams’s “Spring & All.” Register here.

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May 14

Updated Schedule for Urban Nature Ecopoetry Workshop

Due to popular demand, the dates of the ecopoetry workshop have been amended. You also now have the option of joining for single workshop sessions as opposed to the whole batch.

Regular price is $50 per session, or discount: all 5 dates for $240. SPECIAL DISCOUNT if you attend the Red Sofa Reading Series tomorrow$40 per session, instead of $50.

Email redsofasalon@gmail.com to join. Register at the links below.

Register for full series @ $240 for 5 dates

Register for individual sessions @ $50 per date

Sunday May 18, 5:30–7:30pm: The Romantics and the Transcendentalists

Forbidden Drive (specific meeting spot announced to attendees)

Thursday May 22, 6:30–8:30pm: “Spring & All,” William Carlos Williams

At Bartram’s Gardens

Monday May 26, 6:30–8:30pm: Poetry of the Third Landscape: Experiments with Space

Location TBA

Monday June 2, 6:30–8:30pm: Activist Poetics

At the Red Sofa

Sunday June 8, 11:00am: Poetry of the Non-human

At the Philadelphia Zoo, followed by Philly Literary Family Reunion & Potluck at 1:00pm (Clark Park)

Apr 14

Announcing Spring Workshop!

I’m thrilled to announce the theme of the Spring 2014 workshop! Check out the snazzy poster below and register early to save your seat!


Feb 14

Eco-Poetry Workshop Feb. 13

I’m very happy to share that I’ll be offering a unique, eco-poetry workshop at The Head & The Hand Press this coming Thursday Feb. 13, 6:30–8:00pm. Cost is $10 or free for HH members. Prepare to do some reading, walking, and writing inspired by the concept of the “Third Landscape” (more on that below!). Hope to see you there!

Poetry of the Third Landscape: An Eco-Poetry Workshop with Hila Ratzabi

The uncultivated spaces in our city are filled with the seeds of poems nestled between sidewalk cracks, in dilapidated buildings, and forgotten parks. French landscape architect Gilles Clément coined the term “Third Landscape,” which refers to “left behind … urban or rural sites, transitional spaces, neglected land … swamps, moors, peat bogs, but also roadsides, shores, railroad embankments, etc.” Within these leftover landscapes, amidst the debris of our efforts to subdue nature, we can discover fragments of unexpected beauty to fuel our creative engines.

Taking inspiration from our urban landscape, in this interactive workshop we will briefly read and discuss poems that inhabit these marginal spaces that poet Jonathan Skinner describes as “disturbed ground.” We will do a writing exercise in which we go on a short walk to observe the landscape, and return to the workshop to write and (optionally) to share poems.


“ ‘The third landscape’ is the term Clément uses to classify wastelands such as former industrial areas or nature reserves that are prime locations for accumulating bio-diversity. These landscapes are places of indecision where we can witness the relationship between the city and spontaneous biodiversity, bringing an ecological value to these otherwise neglected and discarded areas.” 

–Will Foster, “Gilles Clément – A brief introduction

“While the Romantic imagining of pristine landscapes still frames much American literature, its environments are now pervasively marked by ‘third landscapes’—disturbed ground, neither preserved nor cultivated. How does poetics engage this territory of weedy innovation?”

–Jonathon Skinner, “Conceptualizing the field: Some compass points for ecopoetics,” Jacket2

Jan 14

Two Incredible Poetry Events This Weekend!

Please join me for the first two Red Sofa events of 2014! I’m thrilled to host three wonderful poets this Friday, January 31st at 7pm for the Red Sofa Reading Series at Indy Hall. Jeffery McDaniel has been called “probably the most important poet in America” (Major Jackson), and is a Philly native! Amy King’s poetry has been praised by none other than John Ashbery. And Cynthia Lowen’s award-winning debut poetry collection is about the invention of the atom bomb. So be prepared for an EXPLOSIVE evening of poetry. As usual, food and wine will be served!

Make sure you snag a seat in advance and get a discounted ticket now!

The next event is happening the very next afternoon, Saturday February 1st at 2pm (do I ever sleep?). I will be doing a reading with Cynthia Lowen and will lead a discussion about poetry on social and environmental justice. I was intrigued by her poems on the atom bomb, which led me to reflect on my own attempts to write about another difficult topic of our time — climate change. I look forward to a dynamic discussion on these important issues. And the event wouldn’t be complete without some delicious snacks, hot cocoa, and cider! We hope to see you there. Advance, discounted tickets available here. This event is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action Pennsylvania.

Here’s to an inspiring and reflective start of 2014!


Dec 13

$100 Discount Extended to Jan. 15 for Eco-Poetry Retreat in Costa Rica!

Great news! We’ve extended the early bird discount for our Eco-Poetry Retreat in Costa Rica to Jan. 15! We can’t wait to delve into the beautiful and diverse eco-system of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, and draw inspiration for our poetry writing on this magical retreat. Any questions, please email me at redsofasalon@gmail.com. Hope to hear from you soon!




Nov 13

Help Red Sofa Founder Hila Ratzabi Fund Poetry Book on Climate Change

I think this headline says it all! This month I’m raising money to fund a very important project that has been close to my heart for the past year. I’m working on a book of poems that gives voice to the human response to climate change. I’ve written in more detail on the genesis of this project on my author blog, and you can also read more at the campaign page below, where I include a sample poem from the book-in-progress.

We have just a few more weeks to reach the $2,000 goal, and every little bit helps. I appreciate all your support, both moral and financial!

Please read more about the project here and to donate.

Oct 13

Red Sofa Reading Series Launch Pictures

Thanks to the incredibly talented Gralin Hughes for the photography at our Red Sofa Reading Series launch on Friday, October 11. What an incredible evening. I was blown away by how many people showed up to support poetry, celebrate, and dance!

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Sep 13

Reading Series Poster!

Just a quick post to show off this awesome poster designed by Mike Jackson and Sean Martorana, artists who I met at Indy Hall and who are an integral part of the Indy Hall Arts community. This poster reflects the beauty of our three poets who will be reading on October 11th. Hope to see you there!131010RedSofaSalonPoster

Aug 13

Announcing the launch of the Red Sofa Reading Series

I’m very excited to announce the launch of a new poetry reading series in Philadelphia. When I first moved here two years ago from New York, one of the things I knew I’d miss was co-hosting the Perfect Sense Reading Series at Cornelia Street Cafe with my friend the poet Alissa Heyman. I knew I wouldn’t be able to instantly re-create that experience, and I was excited to get to know my new city and see what was going on in the poetry community. Since moving here I’ve enjoyed meeting new poets, attending readings, and of course starting my poetry workshop in my home in West Philly. I’ve become very attached to Philly, and my neighborhood more specifically. I’ve also found a second home at a co-working space called Indy Hall. I came to Indy Hall to get out of the house, to have a place to work that was feline-free (as my cats can get really annoying when I’m home all day), and to meet new people. I have been inspired by the people at Indy Hall and all the amazing things they do––running businesses, putting on art exhibits, starting mini-revolutions on a daily basis. That’s why I’m so happy to launch this poetry reading series at Indy Hall, which I consider to be an extension of my living room and the Red Sofa ethos.

So… please save the date for the inaugural reading of the Red Sofa Reading Series! I’m so thrilled to present three beloved poets: Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Kamilah Aisha Moon, and Iain Pollock. There will be food. There will be drink. There will even be a DJ, so you can dance the night away. And it’s all FREE. Hope to see you there.

Friday October 11, 7pm


Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Kamilah Aisha Moon

Iain Pollock

A book signing and reception with food and wine will follow the reading.

Plus: Dance party with DJ-ing by Krishna!

This event is free and open to all.

The Red Sofa Reading Series @ Indy Hall

22 North 3rd Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106




Jul 13

Poem Critiques!

Thanks to my friend Adriano Martino for catching me in action giving poem critiques over at one of my favorite places to work, Indy Hall. Pictured with me is Cheryl, a recent participant in my spring workshop.

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Jun 13

Announcing a New Summer Workshop: Tell it Slant: Poems & Cocktails

Some folks hold by the wisdom: in vino veritas … alcohol helps us reveal our truths. This is often the case with poetry as well: poems can help us tell our deepest truths. Join me for a summer poetry workshop in which we explore the notion of truth telling, while sipping fresh cocktails. We’ll experiment with various poetic forms of truth telling. We’ll read and write poems of confession, dream, childhood, the everyday, and persona. Let poetry intoxicate you; coax your muse with a delicious cocktail. Get your poetry buzz this summer.

Homemade snacks will be provided. Non-alcoholic drinks will be available as well!

July 8, 15, 22, 29, August 5, 12 (six Mondays)
The Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop in West Philadelphia
Cost: $40 per workshop; $200 early-bird discount for all six (if paid by June 24th)
Register Now!