Click here to watch a series of videos in which I read and comment on my long poem Coming to Jakarta.

To hear my September 2011 reading of my poetry in Longfellow House, Cambridge, click here.

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Coming to Jakarta: A Poem About Terror. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988; New York: New Directions, 1989. pp. 160. Translated into Bahasa Indonesia.

    • Robert Hass, “Some Notes on

Coming to Jakarta

    • ,”


    • , 31/32 (1990), pp. 334-61: “

Coming to Jakarta

    •  is the most important political poem to appear in the English language in a very long time. Almost everything about it is deeply unexpected…. So what Peter Dale Scott has undertaken in his long poem is both immensely ambitious and mostly unparalleled.”


Thom Gunn, “Appetite for Power,” TLS, February 1, 1991: “The structure of the poem is an accumulation of juxtapositions between the political and personal, the small and the large, the reflective and the anecdotal ….Such a structure makes for a work of great richness and complexity.”

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Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1992; New York: New Directions, 1992. pp. 204.

    • Daniel Morris,

Harvard Review

    •  (Winter 1993), 1-3: “The wisdom that Scott achieves in this poem, and that he embodies in its flexible, inclusive structure, is that we must search for a way between what he calls the ‘brutality’ of civilization and the mindless anarchy that he says will soon lead to brutality; the way is achieved in the act of making, as Scott advocates….The poet’s attempt to ‘comprehend’ rather than to ‘impose’ order — his openness to patterns that happen to exist — is a feature of the poem’s effortless style. Scott presents to readers a way toward the making of a less aggressive (which is to say, contemporary) form of modern poetry.”


Alan Williamson, American Poetry Review, 23/1, January/February 1994, 36-37: “The poem gets, in its wonderful Williams-like slippages, the odd vagary of meditation….Whether the issue is the role of linguistic error in early childhood memories, New Historicist misgivings about the ethics of Spenser and Shakespeare, or the value of sexual liberationism, Scott has a charming way of moving through both sides of any argument….No book in recent memory is more venturesome in its intellectual voyages than this one, yet one of its most attractive qualities is its dogged humanism.”

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Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000. New York: New Directions, October 2000. 264 pp.

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[Periodical publications from Minding the Darkness: summary]

Complete Bibliography