R259. Gathering Crumbs from the Lost Cake: Channeling Mood, Melancholy, and the Muse

Room 22, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Thursday, March 8, 2018
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


Of his depression, the poet Robert Lowell wrote, “Most of the best poems, the most personal, are gathered crumbs from the lost cake.” While mental illness can have a debilitating impact on the writer’s temperament and output, it can also push the work to extraordinary places. Exploring the myth of the tortured artist, five writers will share how they have channeled turmoil, stigma and shame into works of insight, compassion and deeply meaningful expressions of the human condition.



Lisa Mecham writes a little bit of everything and her work has appeared in Catapult, Amazon’s Day One and BOAAT, among other publications. A Midwesterner at heart, Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters where she’s finishing a book about mental illness in the suburbs.

Linda Gray Sexton is the author of four novels, two books of nonfiction, and three memoirs, including Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton, and Half In Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide. She is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and free-lance editorial consultant.

Morgan Parker is the author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé and Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night. She is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and a Cave Canem graduate fellow.

Patty Yumi Cottrell is the author of the novel Sorry to Disrupt the Peace. Her work has appeared in Vice, Buzzfeed, Bomb, The White Review, and other places.

Brandon Taylor is a PhD candidate in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a 2015 Lambda Literary Fiction Fellow, and is currently the assistant editor at Electric Literature's Recommended Reading. His writing has appeared in Chicago Literati, Wildness, and Out magazine online.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center