[...] There are two obvious reasons for Menashe's relative obscurity. A native New Yorker (born in 1925) with a degree from the Sorbonne in Paris, Menashe has chosen to live a rather bohemian life, plugged into neither the academy nor the publishing and literary worlds. He also writes very short poems made up of very short lines, and we live in an era that is suspicious of such brevity. More important, though, Menashe's poetry is essentially very foreign. We should take seriously the fact that his first language was Yiddish and that he was schooled in France. His sensibility is epigrammatic and French, while his metaphysics are transcendent and Jewish. On top of that, he shows an alien's abiding fascination with the sheer peculiarity of American speech. [...]
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