A Poet's Response To World War I Facial Injury And Reconstruction

Apr 8, 2014

About Face cover
Ann Gerike's new book is part poetry collection, part medical history.
Credit Floating Bridge Press

Poet Ann Gerike combined years of research with an empathetic imagination to write "About Face: World War I Facial Injury and Reconstruction." Her poems bring to life the stories of terribly disfigured soldiers and surgeon Major Harold Gillies, whose wartime innovations helped restore their faces.

A colleague's chance comment led Gerike to a trove of World War I photos and case notes that came to light in the 1990s. Gerike said she was also influenced by the visual artist Paddy Hartley's Faces of Battle and the resources in the Project Facade archive, as well as her own mother's experience of facial reconstruction to treat a diseased jaw.

Gerike, who lived on Whidbey Island for many years, is now based in Maryland. She's also the author of "Old is Not a Four-Letter Word: A Midlife Guide."