Dreamworks, an Interdisciplinary Quarterly
Dreamworks: an Interdisciplinary Quarterly was a 'little magazine' running (not very quarterly) from 1980-1988, featuring dream-based creative work--poetry, short stories, visual art, plus nonfiction on dreamwork relevant to creative artists. Always limited in circulation and quite hard to find now, even in libraries. A handful of early issues (v.1 numbers 1, 2, & 4, and v.2 numbers 1 & 3) are (sort of) readable online at
You must click on an issue number, then on the cover--only once you do that will the article-titles be working links. Why, why, why? And why are the photos of the pages all slightly, headache-inducingly blurry?
Fuss, fuss, fuss!
Anyway, Dreamworks is hard to find, especially the later issues, so I'm posting several dozen examples of the dreams from its lost pages--those issues I've seen, at least. Kudos to Scripps Library, which, in the largest interlibrary loan my local branch had ever seen, generously shipped their entire (still incomplete) holdings 400 miles, for me to plow through.
Heavy soil to plow. It took close reading. I've focused here, as always, on real dreams, not essays and theories (many of which, still Freudian-based, have aged badly). But even sticking to dreams was hard: on examination, half the "dream-based" art/writing turned out to be not very. Or not at all. Artists, especially, seemed to feel anything vaguely surreal qualified; many openly said they never depict actual (sneer) dreams; but it was true of many poets and prose writers too. I'm impressed with the patience of editors Marsha Kinder and Kenneth Atchity; given what they did publish, how much did they have to reject as utterly off topic?
So you're getting a distinct subset here--a small minority of students who actually did the assignment.
EDITING: I scanned, converted to text, fixed endless typos; I mercilessly retitled all pieces called "Dream", "A Dream", "The Dream" or "Untitled", and especially the oh-so-helpful "My Dream" (well, who else's?). Grumble grumble. Please forgive me for crassly trying to making these pieces findable.
RELATED TOPICS: dream-collections by Edith Lyttel, J.B. Priestley, Louisa Rhine, and Jesse Reklaw; plus personal dream-journals like those of Nancy Price, Jack Kerouac, George Perec, Katherine Metcalf Nelson, Larry Vigon, Jim Shaw, Rick Veitch, & Roswila. See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.
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|ACCIDENT: by Jules Engel; c.1970? Nightmare turns to surreal sport, inspiring animated film.
A large dog was chasing me, but somehow we got turned around and began racing.
As I caught up with the dog, any bit I passed went invisible--but the rest of the dog ran on
unfazed. When I won the dog vanished entirely. Awake, I animated the dog running, then...
|AMAZEMENT PARK: by Stan Van Der Beek; 1980/12/30, a dream-proposal for a huge art installation
The "Amazement Park", as I dubbed it, was a building long as a football field and three floors high; you fly,
suspended, round an oval track, through a galaxy of images teaching that "sharing" is what matters...
|ALL THE ANIMALS: by Sharon Lynn Pugh; c.1986, an epic, species-bent, funny, feminist dream-within-a-dream
I'm a fox-woman. A human man courts me--insultingly. I dream my brain grows till my head hurts,
till it splits open, till light gets in. I rant at the last dragon. Strange but kindly, he gives me a picnic...
|APOCALYPSE IN ST. JAMES'S PARK: by Robin Hardy; pre-1983, a quiet Cold War nightmare
I find myself at a party in London observing two minutes of silence for the dead of World Wars One and Two. But then, in the park,
blowing across the grass like leaves, were people. The windows imploded. Surely, I thought, there should be a flash before the wind?
|BALLOONS: by Stan Brakhage; 1975/5/7, an epic, apocalyptic flying dream after a bad plane flight
I'm a schoolkid again, fleeing an eruption of sewage. We escape in a balloon.
Earth is beautiful, but I know this flood of shit will drown the whole world...
|THE BEACH: by Patricia Benefield; pre-1985, a surreal painting of recurring dreams
Birds enchant me, and they long have frequented my dreams.
Sometimes, as in The Beach, I am a bird/woman...
|BEAR LADY: by Rachael Dutton, c.1981; a dream painting with four rearrangeable panels
Bear lady, bare lady,
in (or out of) a bear suit...
|BIVOUAC: by Richard Turner; 1981, a dreamlet with sculpture-advice
A young Tibetan boy approached me with his arms full of the shapes I had been working on for
the past week. To my delight I found the material, textures and colors I had been searching for...
|BLUE RABBIT: by Stan Brakhage; 1975/5/17, a colorful dream image bogged down by theory
A startling deep-blue rabbit with scarlet eyes and red veined ears, floating in colorless air...
I'd been reading Watership Down, the chapter on the Black Rabbit of Inlé...
CAUTION: ART THEORY CRUSHES BUNNY
|CHICKEN DREAM POEM: by Hastings Wyman, Jr., pre-1983, a dream of liberation
A mass breakout of baby chicks. They say "Now we know how, so we'll
go where we choose." And maybe it's about more than chickens...
|CHIRICO'S DREAM: by Giorgio
di Chirico; 1904, a surreal dream prefiguring his paintings
In vain I struggle with my father, with his strong arms and wary eyes... I give up... agonizing quests down darkened
streets... long shadows on columns and porticos... a crowd gathers; my father may be in danger... I want to flee...
|CIRCLES OF BONE: by Linda Puffer, 1977/4/27, a poem on a surreal body-image dream
I realize a bone is protruding between my left armpit and breast. I put Maria's hand on my breast and
ask her to feel the bone. But no one grasps what it really is--something sticking out from my heart...
|COLOR OF A BRUISE: by Virginia Brady Young, before 1976, a dental nightmare-poem
I stab and stab my pillow. The room rains yellow feathers. The teeth in my head are blue, growing out of my scalp. A dentist appears;
He carries a yellow drill. I scream, "No! It's time to shop for lemons." In the Supermarket my teeth grow wild as tusk...
|DESTRUCTION OF THE NIGHTMARE TOWERS: by Dustin Shuler; c.1955-1965, recurrent nightmare made performance art
As a kid, when I had a fever I always had the same nightmare: a high brick or stone wall
shaking apart, faster and faster. This scared me very much. Finally, in my teens, I...
|DOWN UNDER: by Kenneth John Atchity; c.1976, a comic on-the-road dream poem
I ride my tricycle all round Sydney trying to get bureaucratic approval
to feed bananas to my friend the grizzly bear, gooey though he gets...
|DREAM HERDING: by Nancy Potter; 1978/11/8 & 11/11, two comic, surreal dreams
FERRY: the crossing is rough, but I'm warned I must find my own sea-legs...
BUZZ OFF: I step into a family photo, but I'm not welcome in the past...
|A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM: by Afton Jandro; c.1983, a transcendent dream
Africa. The elephant seemed attracted to a strange wave of white heat. It faded to nothingness. Suddenly we too were enveloped.
I became flame. I was consumed. I was a thought center, alone in a white void. To create a new life I had only to speak the word...
|DREAMSTONES: by Patricia Garfield; 1978/8/4, a dream of summoning a goddess
In the cave, I chanted "Come Kama, Come Love..." and a procession of strange creatures came down the stone steps;
squirrels, peacocks, a blue birdlike being with golden headdress, and then the Goddess of Love. Her form shocked me...
|EARLY MORNING DREAM: by Brian Cronwall, c.1986, a surreal dreamlet turned poem
Night. Heads shaved, in loose-fitting gray robes, the young men swing from eave to eave. Two lose their grips.
Hard fall. Blood. Assistants call ambulances. Others swing on, house to house, before dawn...
|EGGSHELL SKATEBOARDER: by John S. Dykes, Dec. 1981; a surreal dream-sketch
A monstrous empty eggshell, cracked open and roughly
propped up, makes an excellent skateboard park
|EXTRACT FROM A POEM IN PROGRESS: by D.M. Thomas, c.1972, a poem of an advisory dream
As it was revealed that the pianist in Truro Cathedral was T.S. Eliot's illegitimate daughter, her
wretched playing suddenly became beautiful. I knew the dream meant "cleave to the illegitimate"...
|FESTIVAL OF THE MOTHERS OF RAIN: by Rachael Dutton, c.1984; a dream-based sculpture group
The whole village welcomed in the Mothers of Rain. An aged deer had visions.
A young mother gave birth. All the creatures and spirits danced...
|FEVER DREAM ON THE EVE OF ILLNESS: by Joyce Carol Oates, 1979/12/24? a nightmare of self as skyscraper
My body is a residential tower sheltering centipedes, basilisks, dragonflies, bagworms,
skeletal cranes; without my blood's heat and the moist caverns of my soul they would die...
|A FILM-ORIENTED DREAM: by William Desowitz, spring 1980; dream collaging four diverse movies
I fondle the noses of two masked girls in red leotards--parodying part of a Clockwork Orange...
I'm excited to see Last Year at Marienbad, but either the actors mumble or the sound is bad...
Night. I fly, as in Fellini's 8½, but out of control. The wind takes me, I'm terrified...
My grandmother attacks me with her crab-claw, then retreats, chanting the film title Shoeshine!
|FLANDERS: by Rachael Dutton, c.1981; a dream painting whose dream is lost
In the field, a huge dog whose markings form the image of
a running horse. So who am I dreaming of? Horse or hound?
|FLOWER DREAMS: by A.D. Winans, c.1975, a pugilistic nightmare-poem
I try to pick a flower in Golden Gate Park. But it's as tall as me, and fights back. I lose an ear, an eye, my nose.
A part-time gardener, part-time cop hands me shears. But at the last minute I turn from the flower to cut...
CAUTION: SURREAL VIOLENCE
|FRESH BLOOD: A DREAM MORPHOLOGY: by Carolee Schneemann, Aug. 1980; menstruation-triggered dream
I'm with an Englishman in a taxi who seems rather calm about the fresh blood welling from his crotch...
I find a famous European Veterinarian, but his waiting room's too crowded, so I just leave a bouquet of dolls...
...and wake to find blood on my own thighs. Why does menstruation always come to me as a surprise?
|GEOMETRY OF DAWN: by Bruce Kawin, c.1983, a sexy metaphysical dream?
My anima sends me on peculiar journeys--smoke rings, islands, conversations with a stone--
but at last it's just us. She has something more she wants to teach me. On that bed...
CAUTION: ASTRAL COME-ON
|HE SAW: by Jeffery Beam; c.1983, a nightmare with three selves
I, sleeping me, watch dream-me find a third me who saw too much
in the kitchen. Unconscious or dead? I just don't know...
|HANDSHAKE: by John S. Dykes, before 1986; a surreal dream-sketch
People ride inside two levitating arms that shake hands
above a desert. Do the insiders know what the deal is?
|HEADLESS NAG: by Jules Engel; 1975/5/25, nightmare of a corpse that won't quit
Every good party leaves a corpse or two. Cleaning up, I behead this one and drag it across the street to the
empty lot where we leave them. But its throat forms a toothless mouth and starts biting--well, gumming me...
|HOMO REDUX: by Winston Weathers, pre-1988, a nightmare of revenants
All his guilty dead were coming home, begging to be let in...
And then he was on the outside, looking in at the lone living man...
CAUTION: GUILT, GRIEF, THE LIVING DEAD
|THE HUMAN BUTTERFLY: by Peter Wortsman; 1986, a bizarre dream
I wanted to be human, but Mom said "You'll always be just a lousy caterpillar." So I slipped inside
a human girl. After some arguments with her boyfriend, I got born as a human-faced butterfly...
CAUTION: UNDERAGE SEX AND MOM
|I DO, WE DO: by Victor Henderson; 1982/2/16, a dream & painting on swapping faces
A surgeon persuaded me to swap my face with another man's. But I found I felt compelled
to carry on his life, not mine--to pass for him. And when I demanded my face back...
|IMMOLATION MAZE: by Richard Turner; 1973, a nightmare expanded into both sculpture & story
Saigon, 1973. Lost in a fabric maze. I find, wearing Buddhist robes, the skeleton of a dog.
Years later I write of Buddhist monks burning themselves, and build an ominous maze...
CAUTION: SUICIDES BY FIRE
|I'M NOT THE DIRECTOR!: by Federico Fellini; Oct. 1961, a dream pun on denying your lifework
I'm the director of an airport. A mysterious Mongolian traveler lands. Let him in
or not? I try to avoid the decision by lying--say "I'm not the director!"...
|IN THE CAMP (THE NAKED POEM): by Karl Patten; 1972/10/27; a death-camp poem dictated in a dream
Fat Max eats with Heinrich the guard on Tuesdays. He talks too much. You and I are hungry. Tonight...
The poem appeared in the dream as it appears on the page--words, even punctuation...
CAUTION: DEATH CAMP, DEATH PLOT
|JESSICA THE MERMAID: by Jessica, mid-1977, dream-provoked dream
At a dream workshop for kids, James's trickster dream-figures provoked Jessica to dream one chased her;
fleeing, she jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, became a mermaid, and married the trickster...
|JOURNEY IX: by Gary Snyder, before 1970, a dream of ascending through death
Ko said "Now we have come to where we die." I thought it looked just like the land we'd been traveling,
and couldn't see why we should have to die. Ko grabbed me and pulled me over the cliff...
CAUTION: DYING IN DREAM
|KAMAR'S DRAGON: by Kamar, May 1977, sketch of a dream-figure
At a dream workshop for kids, Kamar drew this dragon, explaining that
the dragon had a door, and inside lived a witch with two cats...
|LADDERS: by John S. Dykes, 1984; a surreal dream-sketch
Tiny people ride a herd of levitating ladders--badly.
One seems to have gotten bucked loose...
|THE LAST JUDGMENT: by Esther Raucher, c.1950; a childhood dream grows into a big sculpture group
I fled a snake by flying. I felt guilty, I knew it was cheating. Years passed. I made tiny clay figurines.
Years passed. I drew a chicken lady with a halo. Years passed. I sculpted a flock of BIG...
CAUTION: NUDE CHICKEN LADIES
|THE LAUGHING GIRL: by Gordon Wagner, c.1977; a strong anima helps heal a trauma
I was one of just three to survive a roller coaster crash. I dreamed of a playful, laughing girl who drove off a cliff.
Dead, she lay on a bier in a surreal cemetery. But she woke and looked at photos of her old self with curiosity...
|LEARNING TO SING AND DANCE: by Marilyn Barrett; pre-1988, a dream of heritage
I'm a kid again, waltzing with my dad, though he's long dead. He hands me the trumpet inside his chest. When
I wake, I feel it still. My mom just died; I've reclaimed a playful part of him she condemned all her long life...
|LION: by Kenneth John Atchity; c.1983, a flying dream lionifying Death
I fly through treetops, a lion chasing me. For him it's a game;
he smiles at my tiring. And death is his name...
|MEAD'S ADVICE: by Beverly O'Neill; late 1970s?, a dream on seeking a female rolemodel
I try hard not to invade Margaret Mead's privacy, but I need her advice;
after I find a fruit true growing in a forgotten room, she unbends...
|MEETING CARAVAGGIO: by Phyllis Davidson, 1978, a dream earned the hard way
While painting a tribute to my hero/mentor Caravaggio, I dream we meet. He talks of his art
as we walk a dark space full of living chiaroscuro scenes we can circle, see from all angles...
|MIKA'S DREAM HORSE: by Mika, August 1977, dream painting
At a dream workshop for kids in San Francisco,
Mika painted this dream-character...
|MOON-STRIPED TIGER PROWLING: by Sylvia Rosen, 1975/6/29; dream poem
The foul old fossil woman had carved and burnt her own flesh in the name of art;
we washed her till she was reborn young. It was my turn next to enter the water...
|MURDERER: by Dusan Makavejev, c.1960, twin nightmares with peculiar joyful moods
I'm given photos of what a murderer saw, but I recognize these scenes. I am the murderer! At least I've solved the case.
I'm in a bare white room. On the wall, a long fuse sparks. I feel euphoric from ozone--it means I've had a fatal radiation dose...
|MY CHANCE: by Howard Nemerov, before 1980, a comic dreamlet
An actor-manager type is putting on Hamlet, and he offers me a role;
I'm breathless, my chance has come at last! He'd like me to play...
|MY DREAM OF CELIBACY: by Sibbie O'Sullivan, c.1984, a flirty lost-opportunity mermaid dream
I lie on the bottom of the pool. The life guard lifts me in his strong arms. We flirt till my legs fuse, ready to go deep;
but he says "It's only a part-time job" and turns away. In day, the highschool pool lies empty, widowed of water...
|NIGHTMARE FROM 'SISTERS': by Margarethe Von Trotta; before 1979, an unexamined nightmare
A dream of body parts--maybe, impossibly, alive--hung up like drying laundry. Von Trotta inserted it in a film
script to foreshadow a suicide, but seems deaf to any personal warning--as if it's not her dream at all...
|NIGHTMARE NEXT TO MY LOVER: by Kathleen Spivack; before 1983, an outside look at dreaming
A woman unreachable, in dream, drowning in the bed, fish-gasping, scissoring, while her man oblivious...
|NIGHTMARE 1944: by Ira Sadoff; before 1981, a temptation-nightmare?!
On my side of the fence, Austrian winter--gray skies, snow. On the other, warm sun, and a frighteningly beautiful
German woman. She invites me over the border, to join her--and the terrified people being dragged off in carts to...
CAUTION: HOLOCAUST HINTS
|NUCLEAR NIGHTMARES: by Erica DeMane, Michael, Joanne and Scott; c.1984, four creepy dreams
Erica dreams that during a protest she's caught in a radioactive flood...
Michael dreams a nuclear forcefield makes his fingertips explode and congeal into weird knobs...
Joanne dreams she meets nuclear mutants with curling black nails great for peeling potatoes...
Scott dreams the world goes silent and white, bleaching out. His hands dissolve...
|THE OCEAN'S FLOOR: by Cheryl Fish, c.1986, a dream of failure-analysis?
I dream we canoe down a river. You say it's barren because this was once the ocean's floor. You're
protective but not longing. I wake on a beach, puzzled why I still feel for you a year later...
|OJIBWAY DREAM NET: by Regina de Cormier-Shekerjian, c.1984, a dream-poem of a visiting animus
I hung the dream-net over my bed. It worked. A blue-winged man with a leg of silver came to me,
drummed, danced, offered to teach me secrets. Awake, I found a blue feather caught in that net...
|PALM DREAM: by Skip Renker, before 1984, a slow nightmare? or a subtle challenge?
After lifeline and heartline, the palm-reader points to a rope ladder heading for Orion. I climb. But
it goes brittle, splinters. I flail. She reads, long-distance, one more line: "Wings", she calls. "Wings."
|PAUL PULLS THE TRIGGER: by Paul Sharits, 1969/12/16, a dream of a replayed, amplified suicide
I see myself shoot myself. Director-me decides this isn't dramatic enough to wow audience-me, so
actor-me tries again, firing half a dozen times! Maybe suicidal imagery is how I realize no-self...
CAUTION: SEVEN BULLETS IN THE HEAD
|PEACHES AND CHERRIES: by Phyllis Davidson, 1977 and early 80s? two dreamlets of being inanimate
PEACHES: after painting a peach all day, I find I AM one, reclining on a mound of cottage cheese...
CHERRIES: after a day in Reno, I find I'm a wheel in a slot machine, whirling, coming up cherries...
|ROLL IT!: by C.W. Truesdale, before 1983, a flirtatious, pun-rich falling dream
I'm sitting in a car teetering in the front row of a theater balcony. By me, R. is licking a cherry-
flavored sucker. As the film crew yells "Roll it!" my foot slips on the brake and I do...
|SARITA'S DREAM: by Sarita Johnson, 1980/8/17, epic dream with a surreal ending
Cops hunt my girlfriend & me all over town. Strangely, whenever I ask them to back off,
they do! Alma's resigned--lets them arrest her and put her on a raft. But she turns into a...
|SECOND READING: by Rose Rosberg, c.1982, a dream shared unwisely
I dreamed my lover was metal inside. I was sure it meant he had no passion.
I told him. Why did he bitterly ask me to stare into my dream like a mirror?
CAUTION: TROUBLED RELATIONSHIP
|SHARONNE: by Paul Friedrich, pre-1983, a political dream (despite Freud and Jung)
I was in a gang, but I quit. They stoned me--and the green heron, the green color I called "Sharonne".
The setting (Israel), the green (Islam), and the name (Ariel Sharon?) all hint the dream's political...
CAUTION: VIOLENCE, POLITICS
|SHE IS THE SNAKE: by Sharon Stricker, 1980, a warning dream from a censored goddess
I had to decide if I'd help keep Janine out of jail. But outside, she'd headed back for the spoon. That night I dreamed
a huge beautiful snake bit my writing hand, telling me "Don't go to court. Stay home and write." I obeyed her...
CAUTION: JUNKIE, RESCUER
|THANOS: from Dream to Performance: by Lili Berko, before 1988, a dream of birth & death
The ship carrying my mom to America sails on, as I drown in the sea;
They strap me down to pull out the pieces of my stillborn baby Obdale;
A family/gang called Thanotos invites me to join them...
CAUTION: MISCARRIAGE, DEATH
|THREE FLYING DREAMS: by Sharad Chandra, before 1988, mystical advisory dreams
1: I ask how to fly. "Breathe air from high levels; its light and purity will wash away earth's heaviness..."
2: To join a flying game, you must cut off your own head! Players acquire new heads and can work miracles...
3: I float up to reach a book in a shop. People call the police but I defiantly soar--over Paris, up to the stars...
|TRISKELION: by Kristopher Saknussemm, c.1986, a surreal false-waking dream
Only up close do I see that the map of these mysterious continents is made of moths. I wake
in Polynesia. By the bed, in a jar, floats one of my hands. For no reason, I begin to cry...
|THE TRUMPETER: by John Hollander, Dec. 1971 or Jan. '72, a (self-aware?) hypnogogic dream
In the border-mountains, there is a Trumpeter. His clear, triadic melodies break out through the frosty air,
or through the swirling mists. No one knows whether the Trumpeter is theirs or ours...
|TWO PLANES: by Ed Emshwiller, c. 1977, a lucid dream modeling the mind
I saw a vast transparent plane inscribed with pictograms and symbols. Through it, at an unknown distance,
lay a second plane of less clear shapes and colors, but with great mass, depth, and unknown currents...
|TYPEWRITER: by Kevin King, before 1983, an ink-noir nightmare
I dreamed my mouth was full of typewriter keys and a typewriter ribbon issued from the back of my head. Joan
was hanging out the window by the ribbon. I reached for her, but my hands kept hitting the space bar, and down...
|THE WRECK: by Denise Levertov; before 1980, a surreal dream-dilemma
We go swimming in a sea full of wrecked tankers. We explore one derelict, but ebb tide pries it off the bank,
out to sea. Do we swim for shore, or wait, hoping high tide will wash it in again? Guess wrong and we die...
|YOU CANNOT STAY FOREVER: by Ursula Le Guin; c.1970, creepy hypnogogic verses
You cannot stay forever / on this side of the river
with darkness coming over / and salt has lost its savor...
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