Very recently I happened upon one of those discoveries (at least such to me) that seems sufficiently obscure to justify being written down, and especially so while it’s still at the frontal area of the old lobe. It is merely a beguiling echo perceived in two poems, written respectively by two poets separated by about 330 years.
Samuel Menashe was born in 1925 in New York City, and died in that same city in 2011. The relevant poem from him is “Improvidence.” I hope no one would come after me for quoting it here in full; Menashe’s poems are so short, and so tightly constructed, that it is not as if one can just quote a verse and say “buy the book and read the rest” (though by all means buy the book and read the other poems). In the great majority of cases the poem is a single stanza, and you need the whole thing to have any sense of it. All the more so “Improvidence,” which possesses careful timing all the way to its quasi-punchline. It is a poem which on its face is about economics, as well as human nature, and indeed Menashe liked to mention that it was once incorporated into a talk by an economist of note. Continue reading George Herbert and Samuel Menashe; Improvidence and Faith
I’ve written several times previously on the poetry of Samuel Menashe. He passed away last month. The magazine First Things published many of his poems in recent years, and it’s in fact there that I first encountered his work. Today a tribute to Samuel Menashe by Yours Truly is published on that magazine’s website.
By the way, I do highly recommend his book, New and Selected Poems, either in the Library of America editionor the updated British version from Bloodaxe Books.
The poet Samuel Menashe passed away yesterday. It is reported that he died in his sleep. He was 85. (See notes from Bloodaxe Books and the Poetry Foundation.)
He was 79 years old when he received the (very first) “Neglected Masters Award” from the Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine. His “Selected Poems,” edited by Christopher Ricks, was then published by the Library of America. (I wrote on that book previously at this link.) Continue reading Samuel Menashe, Poet, 1925 – 2011
A few years ago, at the age of eighty, Samuel Menashe became the first recipient of the “Neglected Masters Award” from The Poetry Foundation.
And a master he is, without much doubt. I suppose that almost any worthy contemporary poet might qualify to be described as “neglected,” at least relatively speaking. After all, in these modern times when our entertainment comes buzzing down wires at the speed of light directly into our veins and our neurons, even to slow down sufficiently to pick up and read a book of poetry is to flirt with a possibly fatal whiplash injury.
Nonetheless, Samuel Menashe’s work has a kind of Continue reading Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems