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Mrs. Dumpty
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Mrs. Dumpty is a riveting memoir-in-verse about "a great fall, " the dissolution of a long and loving marriage. Chana Bloch's poems speak with candor and compassion, and without a trace of self-pity, about the familiar strains in a marriage of many years - aging, dependency, the erosion of feeling - as compounded by the ravages of a spouse's mental illness. She writes not only about horrors like electroshock therapy but about the after-shocks of history as well - in this case, the trauma of Hitler's Germany, which continues to take its toll. These poems, remarkable for their precision of language and the power of their imagery, are shot through with humor and wit even at their most tragic.
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About the Author

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.

Reviews

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 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 " 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 " 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 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" 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" "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'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 "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

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