Poet Samuel Menashe has died. He was a World War II veteran and the first writer to receive the Neglected Masters Award from the Poetry Foundation.
The Library of America published his New and Selected Poems. Their online tribute to the poet included this brief and powerful poem (which Menashe wrote in the sand in the photo above): “Pity us / by the sea / on the sands / so briefly.”
At the NEA blog, Menashe recounted the experience of receiving the Neglected Masters award: “In the middle of the summer I get a telephone call in which they tell me they’re giving me an award, I thought well I’ll get well $1500 it’s very nice and the award they gave me was they created it for me, the Neglected Masters Award. So when I was about 80, suddenly this Cinderellesque transformation of my life. I might have died at a mere 78 and it never would have happened.”