school assemblies/classroom residencies



Raphael is available for readings/performances at literary arts events, colleges, conferences, demonstrations, and more. Tailoring content to meet the needs and interests of specific audiences, Raphael recites original poetry examining issues of oppression and privilege, primarily in the context of race, class, and gender, as well as topics related to U.S. Jewish identity, and the vital struggle to strip Zionism of its cultural influence and political might. Drawing on work published in Scrutinizing Lines, his first full-length poetry collection, as well as newer, unpublished writings, Raphael’s readings/ performances incite, inspire, and ultimately urge audiences to not only imagine social change, but undertake the everyday work needed to effect it.

school assemblies/classroom residencies

For middle and high school students, Raphael offers assemblies celebrating poetry’s multiplicity and the power of oral storytelling. Drawing on his original work, as well as that of notable contemporary poets, Raphael’s lively assembly programs introduce students to an assortment of literary tools (metaphor, simile, characterization, personification, alliteration, rhythm, etc) and various poetic forms (rhyming poems, free verse poems, protest poems, odes and tributes, etc), while simultaneously illustrating oral storytelling’s stirring impact and use as an instrument of resistance. Sure to complement classroom units on creative writing, public performance, and the history of social justice movements, Raphael’s assemblies leave audiences inquisitive, enthused, and moved to write and recite their own stories in verse.

For middle and high school students, Raphael offers residencies of varying lengths exploring poetry composition and public performance. Drawing on his extensive history leading creative writing classes and workshops, Raphael’s engaging residencies introduce students to an assortment of literary tools (metaphor, simile, characterization, personification, alliteration, rhythm, etc), as he leads participants through various writing activities examining personal and cultural identity, individual hopes and goals, interpersonal conflict and healing, and issues of inequity and justice. He creates time for students to peer edit and perform their new work, sharing his insights on how best to capture and maintain an audience’s attention and interest (focusing on voice, pacing, gesture, expression, etc). Culminating projects may include school-wide student-led performances, self-published anthologies or audio recordings of student work, and field trips to local performances by youth poets.

For school assemblies and classroom residencies, Raphael is committed to shaping content and instruction so as to meet age-specific needs and interests, and equally invested in integrating classroom curriculum.


For high school and college age students, Raphael offers interactive workshops and trainings on issues of racial justice, including the history of racism in the U.S., structural racism today, power and privilege, cultural appropriation, models of resistance, and storytelling as activism. Drawing on years of experience in curriculum design and group facilitation through his involvement with Y-Step (Youth Step Towards Addressing Racism), Raphael regularly collaborates with organizational colleagues to lead workshop and training series with returning groups, often incorporating theater activities, film viewings, guided conversations, literary arts projects, and service learning components.

Please contact Raphael directly for more information on any of the above, including pricing, planning, or to discuss your specific needs, timeframes, and financial situation.
photos, from top to bottom, by
michael katz, oscar bermeo,
sean warren, mary j. kelly
and nico blue
© 2009 Raphael Cohen
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