A Dream in the Eye presents colour reproductions of the paintings and photocollages of renowned poet Phyllis Webb. A Governor General's Award–winning poet and a member of the Order of Canada, Webb was a major Canadian cultural figure from the 1950s through the 1980s, publishing ten collections of poetry and prose and co-founding the CBC Radio program Ideas (in 1965). When “words abandoned” her in the early 1990s and she was no longer able to write, she took up photography, photocollage, and eventually painting. Webb’s visual work – a surprising “late style” (the work of an independent artist in her sixties, seventies, and eighties) – is in many ways a response to and extension of concerns explored in her poetry: the natural world of the West Coast, global political strife, the artist’s struggle to express themself. All of this is explored in her more formalist collages and expressive, abstract paintings.
In addition to Webb's eighty-five paintings and forty-five collages, A Dream in the Eye includes introductory material by the book's editor Stephen Collis and art historian and curator Laurie White, as well as supplementary material including some of Webb’s own reflections on her visual work, an essay by Betsy Warland, and a selection of poems written in response to Webb’s paintings by her long-time friend Diana Hayes.