He [Menashe] remains, in his own way, weighty and eighty, but time and again (a phrase that brings to him, and thereby to us, pleasure), there is this teasing of levity against gravity. One of the many aspects in which the poems are entirely without snobbery is their delighting in commonplaces. Within these personable poems, a rueful resilience attends upon clich├ęs. In one poem, your level best can be the opposite of falling short—given their equanimity, the words can be a way of leveling with others and with yourself. Do you find yourself saddled with something?—but this is just what a rider sits in need of. What is overlooked may be graciously surveyed, far from ignored. To come to grief may, on occasion, be a means of coming to one’s senses, to a salutary sense of life’s sad dignity. The living end may be a shouldering, not a shuddering. Up in arms is just what a baby should be. And save your breath may inspire a warmth of feeling that is far from the usual curt admonition, even while the frosty sensation is acknowledged as all too often the case. Menashe can make even I told you so an unexpected benison. Bless me.

Christopher Ricks, introduction to Samuel Menashe, New and Selected Poems, edited by Christopher Ricks