Samuel Menashe Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

In addition to his collections of poetry, Samuel Menashe (meh-NAHSH) is also the author of a short story, “Everyone Must Die and Today Is December 11,” first published in the Berkeley Review in 1958 and reprinted in Irish Pages (2005), as “Today Is the Eleventh of December.”


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Samuel Menashe has won critical recognition for being one of the most individual and daring poets of his time. Eschewing all the poetic fashions of his day, Menashe writes a tightly chiseled verse that nevertheless is full of visionary experience and intensity. Poets and critics as diverse as Hugh Kenner, Donald Davie, Austin Clarke, Christopher Ricks, Dana Gioia, Stephen Spender, and Kathleen Raine have called attention to Menashe as a demanding and exemplary poet. Until 2005, Menashe had achieved more popularity in Great Britain and in Ireland than in the United States. Menashe does not participate particularly in any one national tradition; to him, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson are equally important as precursors. To an unusual degree, Menashe has created a demanding, radically personal body of poetry that speaks to essential issues of human experience and cognition.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Ahearn, Barry. “Poetry and Synthesis: The Art of Samuel Menashe.” Twentieth Century Literature 42, no. 2 (Summer, 1996): 294-308. A critical analysis notable for its understanding of both the Romantic and anti-Romantic strains in Menashe’s work.

Birkerts, Sven. Review of Collected Poems. Partisan Review 54 (Fall, 1987): 649-650. Birkerts, one of the leading practical critics of poetry, describes Menashe as a “poet of subtle breath stops and fine detail” who produces “calibrated minims” in which rhyme and construction are paramount.

Birns, Nicholas. “He Walked in Awe: The Poetic Task of Samuel Menashe” Midstream 52, no. 4 (September, 2006): 33-37. A reading of Menashe’s work within the Jewish tradition, stressing his biblical poems and the materiality of the connections he makes between body and soul.

_______. “I Am Where I Go: The Poetry of Samuel Menashe.” Hollins Critic 40, no. 2 (April, 2003): 1-14. A biographical-critical survey of Menashe’s work up to 2002, exploring the reasons for his neglect as well as the consistency and integrity of his poetry over nearly half a century.

Brown, Kurt. “Neglected.” Boston Review 31, no. 2 (March/April, 2006): 43-44. One of the most thorough responses to Menashe’s work in the wake of his...

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