Award Winners

Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award - 2004

Chana Bloch


When I was the Baba Yaga of the house
on my terrible chicken legs,
the children sat close on the sofa,
the two of them together,
determined to be scared.

I'd cackle, stalking them
among the pillows:
If you be bad Russian boy,
I eat you up!

They'd shiver and squirm, my delicious sons,

as they waited for an outstretched arm
to seize them.
I would chase them squawking down the hall,
I catch you, I eat you,

my witch blade hungry for the spurt
of laughter—

                         What stopped me
even as I lifted my hand
was the stricken voice that called out:
Eat my brother.

Jane Hirschfield on Chana Bloch

These poems of intimate memory and sure-handed imagination survey the human condition with a tender, compassionate, and unflinching gaze. They take place in the world of the daily—they eat, dress, make love, ponder, remember, mourn, and observe. They know some things about life that are hard to put into words, and for those things, they find words, and more—Chana Bloch's poems carry their reader into a hard-won, music-ripened wisdom.