Zilka Joseph


“Zilka's finely tuned editing and timely advice took my story collection from possibility to published. I highly recommend her.”
--Michael Andreoni, author of The Window is a Mirror, a collection of short stories, forthcoming from BHC Press


"I first met Zilka Joseph at a writer’s conference in Ann Arbor where she was leading a writers’ workshop. I was really impressed by her approach. Later I found that many of my writer colleagues in the Ann Arbor area are familier with her as an excellent poet, writer, coach and content critic.

Encouraged by what I heard, I have used Zilka’s services for two memoirs. The first book, “The Scent of Jasmine: Coming of Age in Jerusalem and Damascus,“ was published in spring 2017 and was very well received. Currently, she is helping me with my new manuscript, which, I hope to publish in the near future. Zilka’s comments, thoughtful critique, sound advice, and clarity were extremely helpful in making my books stronger. While her evaluation of a manuscript is honest, and direct, she remains very respectful of a writer’s voice and perspective. I am truly happy to have met her and worked with her."

--Anan Ameri
Founding Director of the Arab American Museum and author of several books including “The Scent of Jasmine”


"Zilka Joseph is the rare kind of mentor who cares just as deeply about your success as she does her own. She is a thoughtful critic and compassionate cheerleader who focuses on using the strength of a work to scaffold the development of its weaker parts. Zilka's care with the manuscript I submitted for graduate school applications, along with her letter of recommendation in my behalf, was a crucial piece in my acceptance to several top tier creative writing programs. She is generous with her time and spirit, and is a pillar of the Ann Arbor writing community."
--Nicole Barney
MFA Candidate, Pacific University


Over the past two years I have taken many of Zilka's wonderful group Workshops (critique-oriented as well as generative) and they are a restorative and artistically nourishing highlight in my normally hectic schedule.  The thoughtful, caring input I receive from Zilka is essential to my continuing growth and development as a poet/writer--I recently published a poem I drafted in one of Zilka's Workshops in the online magazine Rat's Ass Review.

Zilka is an excellent writing coach and keeps everyone in her Workshops on track with her gentle and encouraging manner.  She has an encyclopedic knowledge of literature and is very attuned to pattern, structure, persona and/or character and the music of language in both poetry and fiction. Her insightful and incisive comments and instruction have helped me to hone my writing skills and to cultivate my writing "voice." Her editorial suggestions help me to remove or adjust any unnecessary or awkward wording, line breaks, etc. to reveal better and more coherent and surprising poems. I have learned a lot in my one-on-one coaching with her as she is teaching me to "push" my own sensibility in order to make my poems more original and "true" to my own inner artistic vision. As an added bonus, I also appreciate the support of her talented community of writing students.

--Sally Weston Ziph
Librarian, University of Michigan


"First, I have known Zilka Joseph for upwards of seven years, enrolling in her poetry classes whenever they fit into my schedule.  The more I take them, the more they inspire me. For one, she clearly loves poetry and is well versed in several centuries of western poets, whose examples she shares with the class. She is equally cognizant of contemporary poets, using them also to inspire us.

Second, she sees beauty and possibility in all her students’ poetry and prose so that I leave her classes feeling encouraged to go on trying to make my own lines as good as she think they are. After some of her classes, I have literally felt as if she’s given me a massage, kneading and manipulating my guts until my soul is straighter, removed of its kinks and unseemly knobs, and my words ready to be memorialized in verse.

Perhaps, more concretely, she makes it her mission to have her students’ poetry accepted into journals, constantly emailing us announcements of “calls for submissions” from publications around the country. And her editorial advice on poems is always sound. After she edited two of my poems, they were accepted into Forage Poetry Journal and Pink Panther magazine."

--Ellen Halter

Writer and Poet