It’s impossible to summarize the achievements of Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD. Instead, a few highlights: Holder of an endowed professorship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Inspirational role model, starting with her memoir An Unquiet Mind. Chronicler of positive aspects of the bipolar temperament in Touched with Fire (creativity) and Exuberance (passion). Her latest book is Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire.

Are you a poetry fan in general, or just a fan of Robert Lowell?

I love poetry, but particularly Lowell’s work.

What do you tend to read for relaxation?

Mainly nonfiction. Biography and natural history.

How did reading Lowell’s poetry help you deal with your own bipolar I illness?

Lowell made it possible to see that there was a way to live through, describe, and bind the wounds.

Any other books, writers, or role models that were particularly influential?

My mother, who did not have any kind of mental illness, provided the strongest example to me of courage, toughness, kindness, and grace. Read more >>