a poet and translator, and the author of award-winning books of poetry, translation
and scholarship. Bloch is Professor Emerita of English at Mills College, where
she taught for over thirty years and directed the Creative Writing Program.
She served as Poetry Editor of
Persimmon Tree, an
online journal of the arts by women over sixty, from 2007-2012.
Bloch has published four poetry collections, The Secrets of the Tribe, The Past Keeps Changing, Mrs. Dumpty, and Blood Honey. She is co-translator of the biblical Song of Songs, The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai and his Open Closed Open, and Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch, and the author of a critical study, Spelling the Word: George Herbert and the Bible. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, and many literary journals, as well as Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize and other anthologies.
Her book awards include the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for Blood Honey, selected by Jane Hirshfield; the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry for Mrs. Dumpty, selected by Donald Hall; the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, together with Chana Kronfeld, for Open Closed Open; and the Book of the Year Award of the Conference on Christianity and Literature for Spelling the Word.
Among her honors are the 2012 Meringoff Poetry Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, in poetry and in translation, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Writers Exchange Award of Poets & Writers, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Discovery Award of the 92nd Street Y Poetry Center. Bloch has held residencies at the Bellagio Center for Scholars and Artists, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.
Many of her poems have been set to music. Chana's Story, a song cycle by David Del Tredici, premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Jorge Liderman's cantata, The Song of Songs, was performed by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus. Other composers who have set her work include Bruce Adolphe, David Fulmer and D'Arcy Reynolds. A staged version of her Song of Songs was presented by A Travelling Jewish Theater.
Bloch has a B.A. from Cornell University, 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 has given poetry readings and lectures on her work at colleges and universities around the country, including Boston, Chicago, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Oberlin, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Wisconsin, and Yale. Bloch discussed her translations of Ravikovitch in Traduire, a film by Nurith Aviv that premiered in Paris in 2011. A session at the 2011 Modern Language Association Conference, "Jewish in America: The Poetry and Translations of Chana Bloch," was devoted to her work.
A native New Yorker, Bloch loves living in Berkeley. She is married to Dave Sutter and has two grown sons, Benjamin and Jonathan, from her marriage to Ariel Bloch.