A review of Dreamcraft by Peter Dale Scott

Published on July 4, 2024

Peter Dale Scott’s most recent collection Dreamcraft is a book of truth. The volume’s reflections on meaningful connections and the possibility, if not significance, of transcendence begin with the assertion that we require “an other / that we do not know” to even recognize ourselves. We “only become human / from interactions with others” and we are always encompassed by an elusive “moreness” that seems to have emerged as a source of comfort for Scott only after lifelong contemplation.

Peter Dale Scott

McGill-Queen’s University Press

With an intelligent sincerity nourished by a prolific career as poet and political writer, Scott continues in Dreamcraft his commentary on the troubling turns of modern politics and governance that have been a central concern of his throughout. Nuancing the OED itself, “Mythogenesis” demonstrates how fact does not easily equal truth. “The Condition of Water” adds with frustration:

Tell me! What is it in our

bicameral brain that makes


obfuscation of mere fact

so much more beautiful?

In such moments, Dreamcraft prompts self-awareness, reminding us that we are part of the difficult world it describes.

Yet the collection moves beyond political concerns, as the poet reaches out on the page to many fellow artists, writers, intellectuals, and loved ones that have enriched his life. In numerous open-hearted, admiring, and often elegiac poems, Scott expresses admiration, love, and forgiveness in works dedicated, for instance, to his wife Ronna Kabatznick, Czeslaw Milosz, Robert Silvers, and Leonard Cohen. Dreamcraft thus assembles a literary record of the poet’s past and present relations that breathes and will continue to breathe through its readers. Perhaps, the book thereby suggests that the “interactions with others” that make ourselves legible are the truest form of moreness, and that only honest poetry can capture these interactions beyond the fleeting moment of their occurrence.mRb

Martin Breul is a Montreal writer and caffeine-addict, currently pursuing a doctorate in Canadian literature at McGill. He writes poetry, flash fiction, reviews, and more. In 2023, Cactus Press published Martin’s debut chapbook love poems suck. Twitter/X: @BreulMartin



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