The Lowercase Jew

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-5152-9

Cloth Text – $49.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-5151-2
Publication Date
August 2003
Page Count
96 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Lowercase Jew

Rodger Kamenetz

As dismissal and disdain of Jews speak through the art of some leading twentieth-century poets, so the poetry of Rodger Kamenetz artfully answers, framing in subtle terms the questions that haunt our culture-about the voices through which culture speaks, about the identity of poet and poetry, about the capacity of art to harm and to heal. Whether subjecting the anti-Semitic verses of T. S. Eliot to a literary trial; conjuring the eloquence with which "Allen Ginsberg forgives Ezra Pound on Behalf of the Jews"; or drawing upon personal history, the Torah, and Jewish mysticism to explore the tangled relations of Jewish identity and modern literature, Kamenetz's poems attest to the inexorable power of language.

To view other titles by Roger Kamenetz, visit his web site:
About the Author
Rodger Kamenetz's The Jew in the Lotus (Harper San Francisco, 1995) is the classic account of Jewish Buddhist dialogue; his Stalking Elijah (Harper San Francisco, 1997) won the National Jewish Book Award for 1997. His four previous books of poetry include The Missing Jew: New and Selected Poems (Time Being Books, 1992), which reviewers called "the most significant book of American Jewish poetry" of its year, citing him as " one of the most formidable of Jewish voices of American poetry." His poems won a Prairie Schooner Reader's Choice award and have appeared in scores of publication including The New Republic, Grand Street, and Tikkun, and in a dozen major anthologies including Telling and Remembering, Jewish American Poetry, and The Best Contemporary Jewish Writing. Kamenetz teaches poetry and non-fiction writing in the MFA program at Louisiana State University and directs the Art-Spirit program at Vermont Studio Centers. He also edits Psalm 151, a monthly poetry feature, for the Forward. Kamenetz will be lecturing this fall in various cities about anti-semitism in poetry, the topic of this new book. Kamenetz is a native of Baltimore.
"The Lowercase Jew is a book dense with mourning, comedy routines, food, blue tattoos, tribal history and the wheel of time, despair and prayer. It begins with three amazing poems on T.S. Eliot's anti-Semitism, Allen Ginsberg's forgiveness of Ezra Pound and an imaginary Holocaust Theme Park and ends with an amazing poem on happiness, riffing on the Bible's first psalm." --Alicia Ostriker
"Rodger Kamenetz is on a spiritual pilgrimage that feels both urgent and timeless. After finding the "missing Jew" of his early poetry at the crossroads of Judaism and Tibetan Buddhism, Kamenetz is now taking on the mantle of the warrior. His new work militates powerfully for the splendor of the Jewish tradition, taking on without hesitation the cultural icons whose malign influence is far from spent. Jewish urgency and Jewish wisdom are combined here to stand poetically firm in another uncertain age." --Andrei Codrescu
"These are very exciting and original poems about a world that has been written about so many times. These poems are a secret and almost intimate meeting place of English and Hebrew."
--Yehuda Amichai