, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 13–27 | Cite as

Dream Poetry as Dream Work

  • Richard A. Russo


This paper explores the relationship between dream poetry and dream work by presenting a representative dream poem, along with the text of the dream that inspired it; examining some of its poetic qualities and showing how these figured in the writing of the poem; and comparing the dream writing process to dream interpretation and to Jungian active imagination work. The formal demands of poetry introduce a unique type of critical thought into the creative process that develops the dream material in ways different from other forms of dream work. Writing dream poetry differs from both dream interpretation and active imagination in important ways, but can be viewed as a form of non-interpretative dream work. These observations are probably generalizable to all forms of dream writing and dream art.

dreams poetry dream poetry dream writing non-interpretive dream work dream interpretation active imagination 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Addonizio, K. & Laux, D. (1997). The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
  2. Blossom, L. (1998). Deciphering the Dream: The Day Logic of Poetic Process. In: Townley (1998), 13–23.Google Scholar
  3. Booth, P. (1987). Poems After Dreams. In: Russo (1987) 79–85.Google Scholar
  4. Chandler, J.C. (1987). Seven Snaps of the Shutter. In: Russo (1987) 22–23.Google Scholar
  5. Chetwynd, T. (1972). How to Interpret Your Own Dreams (in one minute or less). New York: Dell Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  6. Chodorow, J. (1997). Jung on Active Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dallett, J. (1982). Active Imagination in Practice. In: Stein, M. (ed.), Jungian Analysis. (1982) 173–191. Peru, IL: Open Court Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  8. Delaney, G. (1988). Living Your Dreams. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  9. Delaney, G. (1993a). “The Dream Interview,” in Delaney, G. (1993b) 195–240.Google Scholar
  10. Delaney, G. (Ed.) (1993b). New Directions in Dream Interpretation. Albany, NY: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  11. Fosshage, J. & Loew, C. (1987). Dream Interpretation: A Comparative Study. New York: PMA Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Fox, J. (1997). Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making. New York: Tarcher.Google Scholar
  13. Franz, M.-L. von (1980). On Active Imagination. In: Baker, I.F. (Ed.) (1980) Methods of Treatment in Analytical Psychology. Fellbach: Verlag Adolf Banz.Google Scholar
  14. Garma, A. (1987). The Freudian Approach. In: Fosshage & Loew (1987) 15–51.Google Scholar
  15. Hadas, R. (1998). Poems and Dreams. In: Townley (1998) 44–50.Google Scholar
  16. Hall, D. (1992, 2nd ed.). To Read a Poem. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  17. Hartmann, E.; Kunzendorf, R.; Rosen, R.; & Grace, N. (2001). Contextualizing Images in Dreams and Daydreams. Dreaming, Vol. 11, no. 2, 97–104.Google Scholar
  18. Hobson, J.A. (1988). The Dreaming Brain. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Hollander, J. (1997). Dreaming Poetry. In: Hollander (1997) 78–95. The Work of Poetry. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jones, R.M. (1979). The Dream Poet. New York: Schenkman.Google Scholar
  21. Jung, C.G. (1951) Psychological Aspects of the Kore. In: Jung (1969) 182–203. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kinzie, M. (1999). A Poet's Guide to Poetry. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Koch, K. (1998). Making Our Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry. NY: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  24. Kramer, M. (1993). Dream Translation: An Approach to Understanding Dreams. In: Delaney, G. (1993b) 155–194.Google Scholar
  25. Krippner, S. (1999). Dreams and Creativity. In: Runco, M. & Pritzker, S. (Eds.) (1999). Encyclopedia of Creativity. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kumin, M. (1998). Scrubbed Up and Sent to School. In: Townley (1998) 97–104.Google Scholar
  27. Leedy, J. (1985). Poetry as Healer: Mending the Troubled Mind. New York: Vanguard Pr.Google Scholar
  28. Levertov, D. (1981). Interweavings: Reflections on the Role of Dream in the Making of Poems. In: Levertov, D. (1981). Light Up the Cave. New York: New Directions.Google Scholar
  29. Reprinted in: Russo (1987) 63–76.Google Scholar
  30. Mariani, P. (1998). Dream Scripts. In: Townley (1998) 133–143.Google Scholar
  31. McNair, W. (1998). Dark Dreams, Dark Sayings: Poems about trauma. In: Townley (1998) 154–161.Google Scholar
  32. Oates, J.C. (1998). “Nostalgia”: Dream, Memory, Poetry. In: Townley (1998) 162–169.Google Scholar
  33. Ray, D. (1998). Dreamwork, Griefwork, Poemwork. In: Townley (1998) 170–180.Google Scholar
  34. Russo, R. (Ed.) (1987). Dreams Are Wiser Than Men. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.Google Scholar
  35. Russo, R. (1999). How Dreams Use Poets. Paper presented at the 16th Annual International Conference of the Association for the Study of Dreams, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1999.Google Scholar
  36. Rycroft, C. (1979). The Innocence of Dreams. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  37. States, B. (1997). Involuntary Poetry. In: States, B. (1997) 188–211. Seeing in the Dark. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  38. States, B. (2000). Dream Bizarreness and Inner Thought. Dreaming, 10, 179–192.Google Scholar
  39. States, B. (2003). Dreams, Art and Virtual Worldmaking. Dreaming, 13, 3–12.Google Scholar
  40. Tart, C.T. (1983). States of Consciousness. El Cerrito, CA: Psychological Processes Inc.Google Scholar
  41. Taylor, J. (1984) Dream Work: Techniques for Discovering the Creative Power in Dreams. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.Google Scholar
  42. Townley, R. (Ed.) (1998). Night Errands: How Poets Use Dreams. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  43. Ullman, M. (1996). Appreciating Dreams: A Group Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for the Study of Dreams 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Russo

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations