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From the Dream Bibliophile column in DreamTime (Fall, 2005) (A publication of the International Association for the Study of Dreams)

David Reisman's Foreign Objects is a compilation of drawings taken from dream journals he kept during 1995 and 1996. He undertook these drawings as "a kind of discipline," faithfully writing down whatever he could recall of his dreams each morning, then adding drawings later on. As an artist, he was interested in his dreams as a source of imagery uniquely his own. Moreover, they were a limitless source -- perfect for maintaining a daily practice. During this period, he amassed over a thousand dream drawings, of which nearly two hundred are presented here.

The drawings appear naive at first glance, but prove to be highly sophisticated upon closer examination, in a style vaguely reminiscent of New Yorker cartoons. Each is accompanied by a caption, sometimes just one sentence long, that briefly describes the dream (e.g., "12/10 A Memphis girl has two sets of fingernails on each finger"). Some are humorous, most are just matter-of-fact dream texts. As he explains in his introduction, he never looked to his dreams for answers or interpretations; "The most important thing was the process of remembering and recording them."

After spending time with this book, one starts to get the uncanny feeling of knowing its author: the people in his life, the artists and celebrities who capture his imagination (Bob Dylan appears several times), the things he likes to do (art openings, eating in restaurants in Manhattan, going to movies, a trip to Germany).

As part of his disciplined practice, Reisman recorded an entry in his journal every morning, even if did not remember any dreams. A few of the drawings from those nights are included, and they add a charming note to the book. (In one, e.g., you can feel his frustration in the terse caption, "9/10 -- Can't remember my dreams." The drawing shows a bloodshot eyeball skiing down a steep slope.) Ironically, I have found his book helpful in stimulating my own dream recall. I keep it on the nightstand next to my bed, and if I've gone a few days without recording any dreams, I browse through it, read a few dreams, then look carefully at the drawings as the last thing I do before going to sleep. This seems to prime the dream pump.

-- Richard Russo, Editor, DreamTime


David Reisman: Books
Foreign Objects: Dream Drawings
Kettle: Poems


Weary of the breed,
every meal
served by an amiable woman.
I wonder, do I really like that food?
Do I like eating from huge pots?

Fast for two days
in my felt hat;
maybe then I'll turn a profit
from rabbit warrens.

Just another
middle-aged water devotion.
Like my mother and father,
a sedan, a mess,
swerving from side to side.

by Carl Reisman published by Hot Lead Press, 2005

published by Hornbill Press, 2004
available from Hornbill Press, and

With the immediacy and candid gestures of snapshots, these poems capture moments in time and place. They seem to demand little of the reader, and instead take her by the hand, saying, "Look at this!" and "Look at this!" Sometimes these glimpses into an individual's life grow brighter and more significant than that one person's story. We read Carl Reisman for those shining moments. And the line drawings, simple and fresh, are not so much illustrations as part of a dialogue with the text.

--Julia Kasdorf, author of Eve's Striptease

Plain spoken, guileful and selfless at once, Carl Reisman's autobiographical exploration of the contours of family and feast belongs to that rich terrain mapped by William Carlos Williams, "No ideas but in things." Packed with native curiosity, Kettle offers a revealing and generous glimpse into a soul in search of a physical world that has siphoned off any sense of enemy.

--P. Gregory Springer, editor of

Kettle is available from Hot Lead Press, 212 West Green Street, Urbana, IL, 61801 for $10. To order, please send a check or money order and include $2.00 for shipping and handling. For more information, please e-mail the author:



cover and illustrations by David Reisman