Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
Honeybees see ultraviolet light. Bats sense, and perceive, in sonar. In Wardlife, a book of prose "sketches" drawn from his nine years as a ward clerk at a large teaching hospital, Andrew Steinmetz demonstrates that perception is a product as much of our developmental history as our evolutionary history.
Reading Wardlife allows a glimpse of how the hospital might appear to a mind prepared for the experience by Wallace Stevens and Michael Ondaatje, instead of Harrison's textbook. Scenes cleave along undetected fault lines; implausible categories emerge from the spaces between objects; accents fall on unlikely syllables. Steinmetz, a born poet raised by a family of doctors, has a different set of sense organs from his white-coated brethren.
The WardWardlife: The Apprenticeship of a Young Writer as a Hospital Clerk. JAMA. 2001;286(1):95-96. doi:10.1001/jama.286.1.95