Chana Bloch

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Chana Bloch
Born (1940-03-15) 15 March 1940 (age 81)
Bronx, New York
Occupation poet, translator, Professor Emerita at Mills College

Chana Bloch (born March 15, 1940, Bronx, NY) is an American poet,[1] translator, and scholar. She is a professor emerita of English at Mills College in Oakland, California.[2]

Life and work

Bloch earned her B.A. from Cornell University, her M.A. degrees in Judaic Studies and English literature from Brandeis University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught at Mills College for over thirty years and directed their Creative Writing Program.[3] Bloch has held residencies at the Bellagio Center for Scholars and Artists, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She has given lectures and poetry readings at numerous U.S. colleges and universities.[4]

Bloch has published four collections of her poetry: The Secrets of the Tribe, The Past Keeps Changing, Mrs. Dumpty and Blood Honey. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Nation and included in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize and other anthologies. She is the poetry editor of Persimmon Tree,[5] an online journal of the arts by women over sixty.

She is co-translator, with Ariel Bloch, of The Song of Songs. She translated The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai with Stephen Mitchell, and Amichai's Open Closed Open, as well as Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch with Chana Kronfeld. Bloch is also the author of the critical study, Spelling the Word: George Herbert and the Bible.

Chana's Story, a song cycle by David Del Tredici based on her work,[6] premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Jorge Liderman's cantata, The Song of Songs, based on her translation, was performed by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus at Cal Performances.

Bloch won the Poetry Society of America's Di Castagnola Award for Blood Honey; the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry for Mrs. Dumpty; and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, together with Chana Kronfeld, for Open Closed Open. Her translation of the Song of Songs was named as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year. Her awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, in poetry and in translation, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Discovery Award of the 92nd Street Y Poetry Center.

She has lived in Berkeley, California since 1967. She has two grown sons,[7] Benjamin and Jonathan, from her marriage to Ariel Bloch, a former professor of Semitic Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. She married Dave Sutter in 2003.


Poetry collections


  • Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch, with Chana Kronfeld. W.W. Norton (2009)
  • Open Closed Open, Yehuda Amichai, with Chana Kronfeld. Harcourt Brace (2000)[8]
  • Yehuda Amichai: The Selected Poetry, with Stephen Mitchell. Harper & Row (1986). Revised and expanded edition, University of California Press (1996)
  • The Song of Songs, with Ariel Bloch. Random House (1995). Reprinted, University of California Press (1998)
  • The Window, Dahlia Ravikovitch, with Ariel Bloch. Sheep Meadow Press (1989)
  • A Dress of Fire, Dahlia Ravikovitch. Sheep Meadow Press (1978)


  • Spelling the Word: George Herbert and the Bible, University of California Press (1985)


  1. Directory of Writers: Poets and Writers
  2. Mills College, Faculty Index
  3. Arin, Jennifer. Interview with Chana Bloch. The Writer's Chronicle (March/April 2001), 10-19.
  4. Merle Bachman, "Chana Bloch." In Contemporary Jewish-American Dramatists and Poets: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook," ed. Joel Shatzky and Michael Taub. Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1999, pp. 220-225.
  5. Persimmon Tree
  6. Jonathan Barron. "At Home in the Margins: The Jewish American Voice Poem in the 1990s." College Literature (1997), 104-123
  7. Mavor, Anne. "Chana Bloch." In Strong Hearts, Inspired Minds: Twenty-two Interviews with Artists Who are Mothers. Portland, OR: Rowanberry Books, 1996, 182-192.

External links