Rodger Kamenetz

Poet, author, essayist, religious thinker, and dream therapist, Rodger Kamenetz has written about dreams and from within them, in diverse genres. He has brought faith to primary imagination, and imagination to religious experience. He’s best known for the international best-seller The Jew in the Lotusthe legendary account of the first high level dialogue between the Dalai Lama and rabbis, that led to a reevaluation of Jewish practice in the light of Buddhist thought. The New York Times has called it a “revered text” and  it is now in its 36th printing. The Jew in the Lotus was made into an award-winning PBS documentary. Kamenetz went on to write Stalking Elijah, his account of contemporary mystical practitioners which won The National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought. In 2010 Schocken Books and Nextbook published his dual biography of Franz Kafka and Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Burnt Books.

Seeking to understand the power of visualization of images, Kamenetz studied with a number of dream masters to write  The History of Last Night’s Dreamwhich Oprah Winfrey featured on her Soul Series Soul Series.  (His  earlier memoir, Terra Infirma: A Memoir of My Mother’s Life in Minewas built around a single dream and was praised by Walker Percy for the “poetic precision of its language.”)        Kamenetz has been publishing books of poetry for four decades. His poems have appeared in 25 anthologies and hundreds of literary periodicals. His early objectivist influenced poetry,   The Missing Jew: New and Selected Poems was called by David Meltzer a “wonder on both the surface and in the core”. Louise Erdrich called him “the poet of the living history of unspeakable names.” The Lowercase JewGerald Stern called “magnificent” and Albert Goldbarth “soulful… and a bisselkickass.”

Beginning with  To Die Next To You, Kamenetz’s more recent poetry has  become dream-drenched. David Shapiro hailed Kamenetz in that volume as “one of the best secret poets in America…with the fire of the high Romantics.”   His most recent bookYonder(Lavender Ink) is a series of prose poems evolving not as a direct recounting of dreams themselves, but rather emerging from what Kamenetz calls “the perfume of the dream” that is, from the dream state of mind, dream consciousness, dream logic. His recent prose poems have been featured in the  Southern Review, Image, New Orleans ReviewAcross the Margin, Bosque, Unlikely Storiesand on

Kamenetz seeks in dreams and poetry an experience of what Coleridge called “primary imagination.” Since 2003 Kamenetz has been working with clients seeking what Wordsworth called the “healing images” in dreams.  He is the founder of Natural Dreamwork, a uniquely phenomenological approach to dream therapy. His work on dreams was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s podcasts, on the Shift Networks Dreamwork Summitand in the Kenyon Review. He is on the faculty of the  C.G. Jung Centerin Evanston and teaches spiritual writing at the Kenyon Review Workshops

Professor Emeritus at LSU where he held the Sternberg Honors Chair, Kamenetz taught poetry and essay writing and helped create the MFA program in creative writing as well as the Jewish Studies program. He lives in New Orleans with his wife the novelist Moira Crone. Read more at Wikipedia.  His websites are http://www.thenaturaldream.comand

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