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The Art of Depression: Creativity and the Dark of the Soul

Friday 27 March 2015

1 Hour


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Rachel Kelly and Charles Beauclerk explore together the nature of depression and its relationship to art. Poetry helped Kelly through the long agony of her depression and gave her a sense of kinship with some of the great spirits of the past who had suffered from feelings of despair and nullity. She explores the healing power of poetry in her book, Black Rainbow. For pianist John Ogdon, the subject of Beauclerk’s biography, Piano Man, music was both his salvation and his cross: on the one hand allowing him to channel his demons, on the other keeping him in permanent exile from the earthier, more stable elements of his nature. Kelly and Beauclerk use poetry readings and discussion to look deeply into the causes of depression, its connection to creativity and its potential cures.

Kelly spent ten years as a journalist at The Times and is co-founder of the iF Poems poetry app, and co-editor of IF: A Treasury of Poems for Almost Every Possibility. She writes on mental health for various national newspapers and blogs. Beauclerk is a writer, lecturer and tutor and author of a biography of the actress Nell Gwyn and a book on the psychology of Shakespeare.

Discussions are chaired by writer and critic Jonathan McAloon.