Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Support of poetry is much appreciated

To the editor:

My thanks to Patricia Duff and The Record for “Facing History” (Dec. 6), which described my poetry project about facial injury and reconstruction in World War I. I would also like to express my thanks to the Hedgebrook retreat for women writers in Langley, where I had almost three weeks of blissfully uninterrupted time this past autumn to work on the project.

I had heard of Hedgebrook before I moved here eight years ago, but it wasn’t until I had had my residency that I realized fully what a remarkable gift Nancy Nordhoff has given to women writers worldwide. To live in a beautifully constructed and furnished cottage, to write, read, and contemplate in the middle of the woods, to be fed deliciously day after day, to interact with a warm and caring staff. When I left, I told them I had never felt so completely nurtured before in my life.

An added bonus, of course, is getting to know the other residents, a diverse group of women working on a wide variety of projects. After a reading one evening, it was their comments that led me to include a brief factual introduction about the war, so the poems will be more fully understandable to the average reader.

I would also like to express my thanks to Artist Trust of Washington, from whom I received a $1,500 grant to help fund my three-week trip to England last July.

I was able to look at the original records of the surgeries in the Gillies Archives, and obtained a much better sense of the war from visits to the National Army Museum (which was holding a special exhibit about the faces) and the Imperial War Museum.

Ann Gerike


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