Estelle Meaning Star comprises cut-ups of dreams recorded while I was going through cancer treatment a number of years ago. I “operated” on the dream language in order to create a pool of defamiliarized yet, for me, innately compelling words. I was intent, not on sharing my dream life, but on building poems. My focus was on craft––on crafting. Throughout the process I was constantly asking myself, what makes a strong image? What makes a compelling line? Why that word and not a different word? When poem-making becomes painstaking physical labor, every phrase, word, every letter gets interrogated—and you have plenty of time to do so.

As I read the book now, a dream shimmer still clings to the poems and sequences in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. Is it because the pool of words and phrases is drawn from dreams? Is it because poems and dreams can share the same strategies––ellipses, appositions, collages, slippages, emotionally charged images, koan-like messages, and more?

Perhaps it’s both: the focus on craft combined with the use of language that had arrived from my own subconscious subverted intentionality in a way that allowed a dreamlike quality to emerge.

I say “subverted intentionality.” But I will also note that I quite intentionally seek out poetry that does this, and what we might call “visionary poetics” is high on that list. Alice Notley and Edmund Jabes channel voices of the dead, Yeats attends seances, H.D. experiences “jellyfish consciousness,” Jack Spicer picks up alien signals through radio antennae. And of course such explicit courting of the beyond is on a continuum with a host of procedures used by other poets to circumvent intentionality and enter the alter / the altar––Nathanial Mackey, giovanni singleton, Laura Walker, Jhani Randhawa.

There is so much more I want to explore about my relationship to visionary poetics. For now: the making of this book is one of several experiences that has led me to start announcing—despite lingering worries that I will sound delusional, megalomaniacal, or both—that I am in the process of claiming the stance of the visionary, the seer. Because it’s become undeniable, given that for decades now, I’ve been using my dream life in my writing. Not to report dreams but to build something that inhabits the cracks and fissures of consciousness, that enlarges the world we thought we knew.