The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022

The Natural Dreamwork community is delighted to announce the publication of this new poetry collection by founder Rodger Kamenetz:

The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022

by Rodger Kamenetz

from Ben Yehuda Press

The book may be ordered directly from the publisher at this link, with free shipping:

or from Amazon:

Rodger will be giving a Zoom reading in the Orange County Scholars Program Wednesday September 7 at 12:30 PM PT  sign up

This book is  a project 46 years in the making. The earliest edition of the book, in 1979, was written in memory of Rodger’s immigrant grandfather, who spoke to him in a dream:

Curve of the Earth

I turn on the lamp.
“Grandfather, where have you been?”

“I have been in the room
where voices mingle
like waters in a faucet.

I want to tell you
your dreams have no meaning
and no one speaks alone
or ever dies alone.

Sometimes you come near
and I can almost touch you.
Your feeling is bright
like sunlight on a ditch,

but when you rehearse
the sentence that disquiets you
your dim words fall off
the curve of the earth.


The Missing Jew has gone through three editions, in 1979, 1991, and now 2022, and has grown in size and depth, from a slim 64 pages to over 230.

Commenting on the 1991 edition, LOUISE ERDRICH wrote:

 Kamenetz’s poems whirl and shake on the page. He is the poet of the living history of unspeakable names and his book sings with dark wit the tales of tough family spirits.

And Israel’s leading modern poet, YEHUDA AMICHAI wrote:

These are very exciting and original poems: a secret and almost intimate meeting place of English and Hebrew.

ABOUT THE LATEST “AUGMENTED” EDITION, the well-known poet and anthologist JEROME ROTHENBERG said:

The pleasure here is how he takes hold of the language & images of traditional Jewish mysticism along with the darker shadows of  diasporic life – what I once called ‘the world of Jewish mystics, thieves & madmen” — & how he constructs from them a still vibrant/living poetry & poetics.  A triumph of the deep imagination & a joy to read

While  National Jewish Book Award Winner ALICIA OSTRIKER added:

In this marvelously augmented extension of The Missing Jew, Rodger Kamenetz doesn’t miss a trick. He writes with a Yiddish lilt, a rabbinic braininess and tenderness, a three thousand year memory of torah and suffering and exile, and a wild kabbalistic dreamlife, all wrapped up in our beautiful freethinking American idiom.

Here’s one more sample dream poem from the collection.

The Pages and Pages
—for R. Ozer Bergman

I opened the book I closed the book. For every after the words would speak. I opened the book and saw a brilliant light cresting mountains to the east rushing towards me. Behind: a congregation of shadows, a midnight robe. I slept on the book I slept in the book. I carried it with me to school and ate it for lunch. It was my life in all the sad days my life of broken skies and crowns of trees scraping clouds. I wrote in the book the book wrote in me. I held the book the book held me. I slept and the book dreamed when I opened it again the words were the same and changed. I read myself in the book and found my world with its roses and enemies its pink roses and green calyces closed around buds. I opened the book in me and who will close the book on me? Who will close my eyes?

Outside the cemetery they bury the damaged scroll the letters torn apart and walking out of their words.

Rodger Kamenetz is the author of sixteen books of poetry and prose. His latest is The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022 from Ben Yehuda Press. Kamenetz is Professor Emeritus of English and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University. He was founding director of LSU’s Jewish Studies minor. His poetry has appeared in dozens of major anthologies and in leading periodicals including The New Republic, Southern Review, Image, Tikkun and many more. His prose includes the best-selling account of Jewish-Buddhist dialogue, The Jew in the Lotus, its sequel Stalking Elijah which won the National Jewish Book Award and The History of Last Night’s Dream which was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series.” His Burnt Books: Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav and Franz Kafka appeared in the Jewish Encounter Series from Schocken/Nextbook and was named a top ten religious book by the Huffington Post.
Kamenetz leads an international group of 20 practitioners of Natural Dreamwork who use dreams for spiritual direction. His website is
For more information or for readings or Zoom appearances: please write