The University of Wisconsin Press



Mrs. Dumpty
Chana Bloch

The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
Ronald Wallace, General Editor

Winner of the 1998 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, Selected by Donald Hall

The poems in Mrs. Dumpty are about "a great fall," the dissolution of a long and loving marriage, but they are not simply documentary or elegiac. What interests Chana Bloch is the inner life: how we are formed by our losses and our parents' losses, how we learn what we need to know through our intuitions and confusions, how we deny and delay and finally discover who we are.

"I was spellbound by Mrs. Dumpty. Chana Bloch deals with the most agonizing personal experience with hair-raising honesty and, always, unwavering control. Her command of metaphor is absolutely authoritative. . . . Mrs. Dumpty isn't a comforting book, but I admire the speaker's rare ability to step outside herself, to look at herself and her situation with harrowing candor, wit, hard-won wisdom, deep feeling. The supply of forceful metaphor seems inexhaustible, the language sounds like a living voice. This is a stunning collection."—X. J. Kennedy

"Chana Bloch's Mrs. Dumpty is an exceptionally strong book. The more powerful the words, the more piercing the images, the deeper the healing. That is what real poetry can do. And that is what Mrs. Dumpty succeeds in doing: healing with words, making this life livable."—Yehuda Amichai

"Whether searing or celebratory, ironic and analytic or rueful and reproachful, Chana Bloch's bitterly honest poems are as beautifully cadenced as they are poignantly frank. This intimate portrait of a marriage becomes also a history of lives in motion and thus a moving tale of chance, change, and survival. For even while Bloch offers us a chronicle of pain, she demonstrates that 'the end of safety' is the beginning of revelation and transformation, as 'Lightning flares at the windows / zinc-white' in a 'wind that can drive / a nail through a tree trunk.'"—Sandra Gilbert

Chana Bloch has published two books of poems, The Secrets of the Tribe and The Past Keeps Changing, as well as translations of the biblical Song of Songs and work by the Israeli poets Dahlia Ravikovitch and Yehuda Amichai. She lives in Berkeley, California, and teaches at Mills College, where she is W. M. Keck Professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program.

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Shattered mug on black background

ctober 1998

80 pp. 6 x 9

Book icon Paper $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-16004-3
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