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Samuel Menashe.(Poetry Foundation)

Each week, we select the most interesting Jewish obituary. Today, it’s that of New York City poet Samuel Menashe. Born in Brooklyn, educated at Queens College, and at home in downtown Manhattan, his specialty was short poems, typically under ten lines, and he published widely in Partisan Review and The New Yorker. He also frequently waxed on Jewish topics; his first book, 1971’s No Jerusalem But This, is centered around that aspect of his identity.

In 2006, Emily Botein visited his small house on Thompson Street in SoHo, where he lived for more than five decades, for WNYC: .

And the Poetry Foundation, which gave him its first-ever Neglected Masters Award in 2004, has a number of his poems on its Website. Here’s “Psalm”:

Let’s make believe
I am happy, I laugh
Black poison, all of me
Its bottleful,
Become sparkling water
My cup runneth over
I am your son
You are my daughter,
The only one

Samuel Menashe, New York Poet of Short Verse, Dies at 85 [NYT]

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Jacob.arnon says:

I was sorry to read of his death. I loved his poems with hidden puns and so full of passion.

I will miss him.

There is a serious shortage of people who read and appreciate poetry.

Shalom Freedman says:

The poetry of Samuel Menashe is a special treasure. If the essence of Poetry is concision , then he is the supreme poet. His poems are rich in Biblical and Jewish thought and reference. Readers of ‘Tablet’ can see and hear readings of some of his poems on “YouTube”. He read with wonderful emphasis and a tremendous sense of irony and humor.
It is sad when any person we know of and somehow care about passes from the world. There is in this case for many the consolation of the work left behind, the part of his life and soul he dedicated himself to giving others.
May his memory be for a blessing, and his soul bound up with the Source of all Life.


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