Hila Ratzabi- Poetry & Space.

Hila shares about her design choices in her home in Philadelphia and how it affects her work.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My design aesthetic involves lots of bright colors and artwork. We can’t paint our walls because our house is a rental, but if we could, I’d go wild.
How do you decide what goes in your space. How is that different from what goes into one of your poems?
I am always editing my space like my poems. The house can get cluttered and it requires deciding what to leave out, which is challenging. This can happen in poems as well.
What are you working on creatively right now?
I’m working on a manuscript of poems related to climate change. It is pretty close to being done, but I’m revising and editing and still may be adding new poems in, so perhaps not as done as I’d like to imagine.
What is your favorite object in your home?
My big red sofa, which inspired me to create The Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop. The sofa is huge and comfy, and ideal space for workshops.
What is your least favorite object?
The cats’ litter boxes… There never seems to be a perfect place for them.
What poetry books have you been reading recently?
I just read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen which blew me away (she was also my professor in undergrad).
What design elements have you been crushing on recently?
I’m obsessed with anything coral.
If you had unlimited time to create, what would you make?
I would do a lot more oil painting, which I used to do, and kind of come back to every other year or so.
What is the oldest object in your home?
We have an antique bookcase that we got for free from a place I used to work at. Not sure exactly how old it is, but old. And beautiful.
What do you love about your work space? Why did you set it up that way?
I love the little corner I set up with a colorfully patterned chair next to the blue typewriter my husband bought me when I was having writer’s block. I used the typewriter as a way to physically get back into writing, to feel it in my fingers. It worked. Now I don’t use it as much but it’s become more of a symbol and reminder of how to find new ways to enter my creative process.

Hila Ratzabi was selected by Adrienne Rich as a recipient of a National Writers Union Poetry Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the chapbook The Apparatus of Visible Things (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry is published or forthcoming in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, Drunken Boat, About Place, The Normal School, H_NGM_N, Cortland Review, and others. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Philadelphia where she founded the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop.

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