To Open, Menashe's 1974 collection, impressed Christian Science Monitor critic Victor Howes with its concentrated works. "The art of Samuel Menashe is a jeweler's art," Howes claimed. He noted that Menashe's "inner rhymes, his assonances, his occasional plays upon words make even the simplest-seeming statement a construct to read again with heightened attention."
Although Menashe published only a few volumes, he was nonetheless prized by critics such as Donald Davie and Hugh Kenner as a unique and worthwhile poet. In National Review Kenner praised Menashe's “taut energies,” and in an Inquiry review of Davie's The Poet in the Imaginary Museum, Kenner focused almost entirely on Davie's elucidation of Menashe's art. In The Poetry of Samuel Menashe, Davie linked Menashe to William Blake and wrote, “If we continue to ignore Menashe, or allow him only the abstracted nod that we give to an unclassifiable oddity, we are in effect saying that he doesn't deserve to profit by the promise that Blake made.”