Rodger Kamenetz (born 1950) is an American poet and author. He was born in Baltimore and educated at Yale, Stanford and Johns Hopkins University. He currently lives in New Orleans and is Professor Emeritus, retiring with a dual appointment as Professor of English and Professor of Religious Studies at LSU where he was also an LSU Distinguished Professor and Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor. He currently works privately with clients, using dreams in a process of spiritual direction.
He is best known as the author of The Jew in the Lotus (1994), an account of the historic dialogue between rabbis and the XIV Dalai Lama. A new "plus" edition released in 2007 includes an afterword, bringing the story of the dialogue up to date.
His "Stalking Elijah" (Harper, 1997) received the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought in 1997. In fall 2007, Harper One published The History of Last Night's Dream which explores the spiritual possibilities of dreaming from Genesis to now. Oprah Winfrey interviewed the author about the book in a two part XM radio broadcast, in her "Soul Series", in August 2008. The material was subsequently webcast.
Schocken/Nextbook Press published Burnt Books in October 2010. It is a dual biography of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka.
In 1996, after a personal meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, Rodger Kamenetz worked with the Interfaith Action Network of the International Campaign to free the young Panchen Lama from Chinese detainment. The world's youngest prisoner of conscience, Panchen Lama's eighth birthday fell during the first week of Passover. Struck by this coincidence, Kamenetz created a nationwide campaign of Passover Seders for Tibet, uniting the Jewish memory of slavery and oppression in Egypt long ago with the lack of religious freedom in today's Tibet under Chinese rule. A special seder was held in Washington D.C. on April 24, 1997 and attended by the Dalai Lama as well as numerous U.S. dignitaries, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. The seder, as well as Kamenetz's visit with the Dalai Lama was featured in a 1999 documentary, The Jew in the Lotus, which was broadcast on PBS.
His books of poetry include The Lowercase Jew (2003) and The Missing Jew: New and Selected Poems (1991).
- pp.328-329 Stalking Elijah
- The Missing Jew (Dryad Press/Tropos Press, 1979) poetry.
- Nympholepsy (Dryad Press, 1985) poetry.
- Terra Infirma (U. of Arkansas Press, 1985) non-fiction.
- The Missing Jew: New and Selected Poems (Time Being Books, 1991) poetry.
- The Jew in the Lotus (Harper San Francisco, 1994) non-fiction.
- Stuck: Poems Midlife (Time Being Books, 1997) poetry
- Stalking Elijah (Harper San Francisco, 1997) non-fiction.
- Terra Infirma: a memoir of my mother's life in mine (Shocken, 1999) non-fiction, reprint.
- The Lowercase Jew (Northwestern, 2003) poetry.
- "The Jew in the Lotus (PLUS) With an afterword by the author." (HarperOne, 2007) non-fiction.
- The History of Last Night's Dream (HarperOne, 2007) non-fiction.
- Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav and Franz Kafka (Schocken/Nextbook, 2010) non-fiction.