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Psychiatry and the Arts Series

Upcoming Events


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Moods and Music
Robert Lowell: Poet and Patient

Hurd Hall, 5:00 PM, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.
The Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders
Professor of Psychiatry
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Sir Andrew Motion
Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom (1999-2009)
Homewood Professor of the Arts
The Johns Hopkins University

Meg Hutchinson
Singer-songwriter
Arranger of Robert Lowell's Poems

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Past Events


February 2018

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

A special reading and evening in celebration of Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison's 

Robert Lowell, one of America's greatest writers, suffered throughout his life from severe bipolar illness. He was hospitalized twenty times yet he lived his life with courage and used his work to describe, vividly and without equal, the terror of psychosis and the pain of depression. He also wrote, all the more convincingly, about the beauty of life and the power of love. 


December 2015

Touched with Fire | A feature film by Paul Dalio 

Touched with Fire, Paul Dalio’s feature film debut starring Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby, revolves around two bipolar poets whose art is fueled by their emotional extremes. Katie Holmes stars as Carla, a talented writer who struggles with the disorder and its management. After a particularly intense manic episode, she ends up in a psychiatric hospital where she meets Marco (Luke Kirby), another talented writer who refuses to stay on his medication because it fuels his intense creativity.  When they meet, their romance brings out all the beauty as well as the darkness of their condition, and its impact on their lives, families, careers and future.

Drawing inspiration from his own life experience with bipolar disorder, Dalio wrote and directed the film which includes strong performances by Griffin Dunne, Christine Lahti and Bruce Altman. Kay Jamison, author of the book "Touched with Fire," the definitive work on creativity and madness, makes a cameo. It was produced by Jeremy Alter and Kristina Nikolova, who also served as the film’s co-cinematographer. Spike Lee, Dalio’s professor at NYU Film School, is executive producer. The film will be released theatrically in February 2016.

Touched with Fire takes the audience on an authentic journey through the highs and lows of bipolar disorder and how it impacts not only individuals but their friends, families and work life. It is an outstanding film that offers a holistic portrayal of mental health and provides audiences with an inside look into one of the nations’ most discussed and least understood mental health conditions.

Paul Dalio sees this film as a catalyst to change the way bipolar disorder is discussed and we are using this event as one of many ways to start changing conversations.

JHU Hub - December 16, 2015
'Touched With Fire,' inspired by work of Johns Hopkins psychologist, explores life with bipolar disorder
Filmmaker, author attend special advance screening at The Charles (Baltimore)


March 2011

Meg Hutchison, Singer/Songwriter


November 2010

Singing in the Dark
An exploration of creativity and madness

Susan McKeown | Grammy Award Winning Irish Vocalist


October 2009

Asylum | Images from the Past, Prelude to the Present

A visual presentation of striking photos from a new book by architect and photographer, Christopher Payne, entitled Asylum: In the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals. Dr. Anita Everett, Director of Community Psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center will follow with a discussion of the legacy of the past and its impact on present-day care for the chronically and seriously mental ill. 


November 2007 

Grief and Depression
Disease or the Human Condition?

Scottish Poet Douglas Dunn reads from Elegies, Whitbread Book of the Year
Douglas Dunn wrote Elegies after his wife’s death from cancer in 1981. His volume of poetry, described as the finest poetic work on grief since Tennyson’s In Memoriam, was chosen as the Whitbread Book of the Year, one of Britain’s highest literary honors. Dunn, an acclaimed poet, playwright, and frequent contributor to The New Yorker, is Professor of English Studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.


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