Samuel Menashe was born on September 16, 1925, in New York City. He attended Queens College in New York, and in 1950 received a doctorate d'universite from the Sorbonne. During World War II he served as an infantryman in France, Belgium, and Germany.
He is the author of multiple collections of poetry, pubished in both the United States and England, including New and Selected Poems (The Library of America, 2005), The Niche Narrows: New and Selected Poems (Talisman House, 2000), and No Jerusalem But This (October House, 1971).
Menashe's poems are concise, usually less than ten lines long, and focus on compression of imagery and experience. He also employs tightly controlled rhyme, assonance, and wordplay. In his review of Menashe's New and Selected Poems for The New York Times, David Orr says, "each poem reads as if it's been handblown, filled with an exactly measured dose of Wisdom and then polished 9,000 times by the world's most precisely folded chamois."
In 2004, he received the inaugural Neglected Masters Award from The Poetry Foundation. Samuel Menashe died on August 22, 2011, at the age of 85 in New York City.