Poets on Prozac Book Cover

Poets on Prozac

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

I had the honor of editing Poets on Prozac, a collection of essays by sixteen contemporary poets who write about how psychiatric treatment influenced their creativity.

About Mental Illness and the Creative Process

Poets on Prozac shatters the myth that psychiatric treatment will impair creativity. What the sixteen poet-essayists tell us is that effective treatment sets the stage for greater creativity.

I have put together a Q&A that goes into more depth on the book’s primary theme.

The Poets

Renee Ashley…..The Literary Review

David Budbill…..www.davidbudbill.com

Denise Duhamel…..Poets.org

Vanessa Haley…..www.cherry-grove.com

Andrew Hodgins…..www.osu.edu

Gwyneth Lewis…..www.gwynethlewis.com

Ren Powell…..www.renpowell.com

Martha Silano…..www.marthasilano.com

John Smith…..www.jdsmithwriter.com

Chase Twichell…..www.ausablepress.org


An exceptional collection of poetically written and stirring accounts of overcoming mental suffering that provides valuable affirmation and understanding of the antithesis between mental illness and creative achievement. Although this is not a systematic scientific study, it vividly points to the ways that psychiatric treatment, which itself involves a mutual creative process between patient and therapist, may frequently improve poetic creativity.


—Albert Rothenberg, M.D., Harvard University, author of Creativity and Madness: New Findings and Old Stereotypes and The Creative Process of Psychotherapy

In brilliantly illuminating the interplay between creativity and mental illness, Richard Berlin’s fascinating book shows us poets in the process of becoming healers—not only of themselves, but also of others, and even of society at large. Whether it is Denise Duhamel purposefully confronting bulimia in a spirited, long-lined poem, or Jack Coulehan more intuitively seeking structure through received poetic forms to calm anxiety, we experience firsthand ‘dis-ease’ as an incitement to the creative act, and, in turn, the tremendous power of imaginative language to interrogate and to assuage our suffering.


—Rafael Campo, M.A., M.D., D.Litt. (Hon), Harvard Medical School

There is also a long and excellent review by Cortney Davis that can be read here: Cortney Davis Review of Poets on Prozac.

Finding the Book

If you would like a copy of the book, it can be purchased online from Amazon.com or from Barnes & Noble.

It can also be purchased directly from the publisher:

The Johns Hopkins University Press
$21.95 includes shipping and handling