Wednesday, September 6, 2017



The Moon Is Almost Full by Channa Bloch
(Autumn House Press, Pittsburgh, 2017)

Aware that Channa Bloch died earlier this year, thoughts of death and mortality hovered as I opened her last book, The Moon Is Almost Full. Certainly, these elements seem supported b the very first poem:

Yet that last line bespeaks fortitude, if not optimism. It’s not depressing. We turn the page to the epigraph by George Herbert and feel the joy of a persona coming out of some darkness—or dimness, like the realization of mortality—to a light of acceptance and resolve so that there’s “relish” in continuing the “versing”:

Well, Bloch’s gifts as a poet result in many wise illuminations in her poems. Here’s one I relish for showing how “Unto every plan God’s ringing laughter”:

So much for bucket lists. Personally, I hope for a less ignominious end than merely kicking the proverbial bucket so that I love the poem’s lyricism: “The past is a continent / barely mapped, and deep enough, / down to the earth's hot core.” 

I also appreciate the ars poetica—specifically how one may persevevere to live a long life in poetry—in “Provisions”:

Nonetheless, there will be the occasional lapse to … terror:

Such a challenge—not to die while we are alive. Yet the persona—or the poet, I want to believe—inhales deeply and ultimately responds with fortitude:

As I am reviewing this book concurrent with first reading through it, is it clear yet that I am imagining a narrative in parallel with the unfolding of individual poems?  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.  Also, I find it meaningful that the poem “The Will” does not conclude the collection (it’s the third from last poet). It’s as if death and its aftermath need not be the ending to her life—or, since she’s a poet, need not have the last word. This made me pay close attention to the poem that does end the book, “Moon Over Menlo Place.” The poem ends
The moon over Menlo Place, 
that old lovers' moon, our one and only-- 
let's take it, love, 
moon dust and all.

Thus, it’s a joy to conclude Channa Bloch left behind as her last book a collection that brims with the pleasures of accommodations to—and that turn into celebrations of—life.


Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea ResurrectsHer 2017 poetry releases include four books, two booklets and six poetry chaps. Most recently, she released MANHATTAN: An Archaeology (Paloma Press) and Love in a Time of Belligerence (Editions du Cygne/SWAN World). She does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor, but she is pleased to point you elsewhere for recent reviews of her work: T.C.. Marshall reviews MANHATTAN for The FilAm Magazine while Joey Madia reviews it for New Mystics Reviews. Her books have been released in nine countries and cyberspace. More info about her work at

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