Mr. Kamenetz was born in New Orleans. His poems have appeared in 25 major anthologies as well as in leading periodicals including The New Republic, Tikkun, Image, Callaloo, Grand Street, Shenandoah, Exquisite Corpse, Boulevard, Pequod, Southern Review, Western Humanities Review, North American Review. He received the Readers' Choice Award in poetry from Prairie Schooner and the St. Andrews Review award in poetry. Several reviewers have commented on the grace of Kamenetz's language, of which Andrei Codrescu wrote in the San Francisco Review of Books, "his ear is as good as William Carlos Williams in the early poetry" and Yehudah Amichai that "his poems are a secret and almost intimate meeting place of English and Hebrew." Louise Erdrich adds that "Kamenetz's poems whirl and shake on the page." Another strong appeal has been his evocation of Jewish diaspora life, and Jewish religion. Writing in the Forward, Joel Lewis declared Kamenetz a "modern day Rashi" and The Missing Jew, "The ideal Baedeker for the American Jewish Diaspora." The Jerusalem Post called his recent work "stunningly powerful", and called Kamenetz "a master at infusing seemingly plain words with resonance and depth, with subtle textures and playful ironies,wonderfully open to a whole gamut of human emotions." His readings are dynamic and entertaining: he has read his poetry at the Prague Summer Program, the Deep South Writers conference, The Tennesee Williams Festival, the Words and Music Festival, the Spoleto Festival, South Central MLA, the University of Missouri Visiting Writers Program, and at Yale, Harvard, NYU, and dozens of other campuses, as well as on PBS and NPR.
Rodger Kamenetz retired from Louisiana State University in 2010 as the Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor and as an LSU Distinguished Professor. He held a dual appointment as a Professor in the Department of English and in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. He was the founding director of LSU's highly successful MFA program in Creative Writing, and the founding director of the Jewish Studies Program. His students have gone on to successful writing careers, among them poets Martha Serpas, Virgil Suarez, Mark Yakich and Anthony Kelman and fiction writers Olympia Vernon, Ronlyn Domingue, Laurie Lynn Drummond,and Connie Porter. He holds a B.A. from Yale College and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins and Stanford Universities.