Fall 2019

Past Events

November 21, 2019


Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W 129th St
New York, NY 10027
The Lantern (8th Floor)


Nov. 21st, 2019 6:30pm - 


Leslie Jamison, Writing, and clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, Johns Hopkins University. Moderated by Phillip Lopate '64 CC, Writing.


A conversation about the relationship between mental illness, psychic suffering, addiction, and creativity, focused particularly on the poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman. Lowell was a poet of astonishing originality and force. As well, he was subject to relentless attacks of psychotic mania and depression. He wrote in spite of illness, and at times because of it. He wrote with an iron discipline and commitment to his art; he wrote because "it takes the ache away." Berryman for many years believed his art “depended on his drinking,” but in the last years of his life struggled to understand a different relationship between his anguish, his booze, and the wild liberties of his art.


Book cover for Leslie Jamison's The Recovering, showing a road disappearing at the horizon, flanked by cornfields on either side

Co-presented by Columbia Narrative Medicine, the Department of Psychiatry, and Columbia University School of the Arts


Books were available for purchase from Book Culture, including:

Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character, by Kay Redfield Jamison


The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, by Leslie Jamison


Make It Scream, Make It Burn, by Leslie Jamison