“As a whole, Chana Bloch’s “The Moon Is Almost Full” is poetry that ignites the creative impulse in the imaginative reader as Bloch deliberately and willfully salvages beauty from a... [continued in Reviews below]”—Sonja James, The Journal (WV)
The newest collection by noted poet and translator Chana Bloch
Chana Bloch’s newest poetry collection, The Moon is Almost Full, focuses frankly and tenderly on the themes of aging and death. Bloch doesn’t shy away from the dark places, but she was a trustworthy guide. These remarkable poems remind the reader to take joy where we can find it and relish the everyday.
Bloch’s clear and direct voice makes her poems accessible favorites for all readers. Anyone interested in poetry dealing with aging, cancer, family relationships, and Judaism.
Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS
Reviews / Endorsements
As a whole, Chana Bloch’s “The Moon Is Almost Full” is poetry that ignites the creative impulse in the imaginative reader as Bloch deliberately and willfully salvages beauty from a life confronted by suffering. She teaches joy, humility, and endurance all at once in her original and provocative cries from the heart. http://www.journal-news.net/weekender/2017/08/bloch-writes-about-the-human-condition-and-transformative-power-of-love/—Sonja James, The Journal (WV)
But that’s part of the effectiveness of Bloch’s poetry—that the poems encourage our habitation in them to create a story of our own. This relaxed—and answered—call to empathy is one of Bloch’s strengths.
http://galatearesurrects2017.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-moon-is-almost-full-by-channa-bloch.html—Eileen Tabios, Galatea Resurrects
"It is traditional to give last words a primacy over other speech and with good reason. When utterance stands 'between self and door' it no longer has the impish urge to quibble or conceal, nor, for that matter, to repose in its own sonority. The Moon Is Almost Full is Chana Bloch's final collection, and it stands or falls, as she understood, on its ability to be taken as last words, the final vocabulary whereof marks what we really meant and really believe. Irony is out of bounds in this last of our language games, replaced by modesty, to which those who continue on in life might assign a kind of irony of posture, if not of subject: it isn't, as we shall all see. As Kafka reminded us, discontinuation begets no irony: it is what it is." http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/77/rigsbee_r.php—David Rigsbee, The Cortland Review
Poetry is the touchstone throughout The Moon Is Almost Full; it is what sustains Bloch. In the poem “Provisions,” for example, Bloch writes of asking an “aging poet” when she was thirty, “What’s left for me to write?” Rather than mocking, the poet responds, “Life will provide,” and Bloch notes the answer was “Delphic, though her tone / was maternal.” Writing many years later “Life” provides “the endless thread, / the poem.” I imagine her delight in crafting her experiences in the last months and days of her life into these well-wrought poems. http://therumpus.net/2017/12/the-moon-is-almost-full-by-chana-bloch/—Julie R. Enszer, The Rumpus
“Under siege, I am still a kingdom,” writes Chana Bloch in this signal, singing, singeing collection of poems. Each page verifies the beauty and scope and surge of a life both extraordinary and daily, embraced not in spite of our mortality, but because of it.”—Jane Hirshfield, author of The Beauty
“These poems, fashioned with compact power and formal elegance, are a luminous demonstration of how poetry can be the vehicle for both confronting our darkest fears and yet continuing to affirm the preciousness of life. The Moon is Almost Full is the crowning achievement of Chana Bloch's distinguished career as a poet.”—Robert Alter, author of The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary
“Chana Bloch insists on life. Inviting us to the view from mortality's edge, taking us to 'the intersection of self and door,' she can experience 'a joy so acute it startles me' even in the cancer ward. For all of us who have 'looked down a well so deep / you couldn't see bottom,' she teaches us to look around:
A sparrow lands on a springy stalk,
rides it fluently to the ground.
The deer come up close and present their ears."—Alicia Ostriker, author of Waiting for the Light
From the Book:
The Face of Death
No one can look upon the Face of God
and live. Even Moses could not.
That nuclear fury
would have blazed him to a char.
The Face of Death has me in its sights,
blistering cold as dry ice.
I may look upon it if I dare. And I must.
O Death, thou knowest.
I refuse to turn my eyes away.
I am choosing day by day to see
even as I am seen, till the last face-to-face
when I am taken with a kiss.
CHANA BLOCH (1940-2017) was a poet, translator, scholar, and teacher. She was the author of five books of poems, six books of translation from Hebrew poetry, ancient and contemporary, and a critical study of George Herbert. Bloch was professor emerita of English literature and creative writing at Mills College, where she taught for many years and directed the creative writing program. She lived in Berkeley, California.