Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Poets on Prozac. Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process

BERLIN, Richard M. (dir.), Poets on Prozac. Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 2008, 200 p.

ISBN 978-0-8018-8839-7

_blank Poets on Prozac shatters the notion that madness fuels
creativity by giving voice to contemporary poets who have battled myriad psychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. The sixteen essays collected here address many provocative questions: Does emotional distress inspire great work? Is artistry enhanced or diminished by mental illness? What effect does substance abuse have on esthetic vision? Do psychoactive medications impinge on ingenuity? Can treatment enhance inherent talents, or does relieving emotional pain shut off the creative process? Featuring examples of each contributor’s poetry before, during, and after treatment, this original and thoughtful collection finally puts to rest the idea that a tortured soul is one’s finest muse.


Richard M. Berlin, M.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry at the
University of Massachusetts, a psychiatrist in private practice, and a
published poet. He writes a monthly poetry column for Psychiatric Times and is the author of How JFK Killed My Father, a collection of poems about illness and the healing arts.

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