Chana Bloch

1940 –

Chana Bloch was born in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. She received a BA from Cornell University, MA degrees in Judaic studies and English literature from Brandeis University, and a PhD in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley.

Bloch published several poetry collections, including Swimming in the Rain: New and Selected Poems, 1980–2015 (Autumn House Press, 2015); Blood Honey (Autumn House Press, 2010), which received the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America; Mrs. Dumpty (University of Wisconsin Press, 1998), which received the Felix Pollak Prize; and The Secrets of the Tribe (Sheep Meadow Press, 1980). Her final poetry collection, The Moon Is Almost Full (Autumn House Press), will be published posthumously in 2017.

Bloch also translated and cotranslated six books of poetry, including The Song of Songs: The World’s First Great Love Poem (Modern Library, 2006); Yehuda Amichai’s Open Closed Open (Harcourt, 2000), which received the 2001 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; and The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai (Harper & Row, 1986).

Of her work, Richard Hugo wrote, “Chana Bloch’s poems whisper swiftly what has been in us since we began. They are telling, quick revelations of the creatures we are, creatures we may not ignore and must not distort. Chana Bloch holds human existence in sure focus.”

Bloch received the Discovery Award from the Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She taught at Mills College and lived in Berkeley, California. She died on May 19, 2017.