Once a week in the name of poetry, Hila Ratzabi opens her living room to strangers.
They lounge, snug on the red wraparound sofa in her West Philadelphia home, and discuss, over wine and homemade vegetarian food, how to become better poets
Ratzabi, 34, is their teacher.
A poet and freelance editor, Ratzabi has held the biannual Red Sofa Salon and Poetry Workshop in her living room since 2013. This fall, a small group gathers in her home on Sundays from noon to 2:30 p.m. to read and discuss published poetry, participate in writing exercises, and critique one another’s work.
“I think being in a home environment is so much more comfortable for people,” Ratzabi said. “It establishes this automatic comfort level. There’s something comforting about food, about sitting around a couch in a safe space where we’re here to support and critique each other.”