Chana Bloch

Center for Jewish Studies, University of California, Berkeley

CHANA BLOCH was a poet, translator, scholar, and teacher. The daughter of Jewish immigrants from what is now Ukraine, Chana Bloch grew up in the Bronx, received a BA in Semitic Studies 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.

In her 20s she changed her first name from Florence to the Hebrew Chana (pronounced Hana).

Bloch’s poetry collections include 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), was published shortly after her death 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).

She taught at Mills College and lived in Berkeley, California. She died on May 19, 2017.