A Review of Want to Hear About This Dream I Had by Sommer Browning

Review by James H Duncan

Even if I hadn’t seen Sommer Browning read from her collection at a recent gathering in Albany, NY, I feel my opinion of the book would be similar, but I admit to a fondness of her ability to open every piece with, “Hey, do you want to hear about this dream I had?” Amusing and effective, a perfect hook to draw us in to each offering. The pieces are surreal, of course, with scenes and images and citizens that flow from one intention to the next in that usual slipstream way dreams operate. But each is also populated with the kind of halting emotional pinch points we experience daily, flashes of things we felt or experienced, so that whether or not these pieces were born of actual dreams or just creative slices of an even stranger reality, they became truthful and impactful, reflective of a life we can recognize, but a life fleeting and bending and changing as we keep reading.

Most pieces have a full paragraph of flowing dreamvision, but some pieces are shorter, reminiscent of how we can wake and remember just a face or an emotion, and little else, such as in the third piece in the book, which reads, “A poet friend sends me a photograph of himself proposing to his girlfriend. She has a big rock on her finger and looks happy. I have conflicted feelings.” And that’s all. But isn’t that often all we get in any dream? We’re watching life happen, simple and sudden and apart from it, yet our emotions seems to be the center of the wheel of this spinning universe.

Browning gives us the full spectrum in this collection. Well worth owning and reading and keeping close by for those nights when sleep and dreams are hard to come by.

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