Anne Webster
About Anne Hughes Webster:
When Anne Webster, a fifth generation native of Atlanta, was born, her parents lived two blocks from the future site of the hospital where she would attend nursing school and later work until the end of her career.
Despite childhood Christmas gifts of toy stethoscopes and candy pills, Anne knew that she didn’t want to be a nurse. She imagined herself becoming a scientist or a famous artist, especially after she won a blue ribbon in a fourth grade art contest. But following high school, her divorced mother’s secretarial salary forced Anne to choose not college, but a three-year nursing school that, because of a scholarship, cost her only $175.
Following graduation and marriage, Anne worked at a downtown hospital. She soon realized that nursing didn’t fulfill her desire to make art, so she took evening classes at the Atlanta College of Art. When she couldn’t find time to paint after the birth of her second baby, her sister, Rosemary Daniell, asked Anne to join a group of aspiring poets who met each week at Rosemary’s house. Writing came naturally to Anne, just as it had to her mother, who published personal essays in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and to her sister—now the author of eight books. Soon Webster’s poems appeared in local university presses, the Southern Poetry Review, and The New York Quarterly.
During more than 25 years of nursing practice, Anne worked as a critical care staff nurse, hospital supervisor, and nursing administrator. When a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease forced her to leave her nursing job, Anne became both a nurse and a patient. It was only when she was on the receiving end of health care that she learned the true importance of her profession.

All the while Anne continued to write. Her poems and essays have been published in many literary journals and anthologies; in addition she has conducted creative writing workshops and taught business writing. She recently contributed a chapter to The Poetry of Nursing; Commentaries and Poems of Leading Nurse Poets, a text now used in Medical Humanities and creative writing courses in several universities. Personal experiences with illness have begun to inform her later work, and some of those poems will appear in Stories of Illness: Women Write Their Bodies and A Call to Nursing in 2009.

Anne recently completed Gutshot: A Nurse Betrayed, a memoir that chronicles her bout with Crohn’s disease and finding herself the victim of medical error. She is now working on A Second-Choice Life, a memoir about becoming a nurse. Anne lives in Atlanta with her husband, near the spot where her great-great-grandfather arrived with his nine sons in the back of a covered wagon at the end of the Confederate War.
A History of Nursing gives insight into both the professional and personal life of a nurse, with its difficulties and rewards, just as the current crisis in nursing—not enough nurses and an aging population who is certain to need nursing care—gains momentum. More importantly, these poems, by showing the poet as both a nurse, a woman, and a patient, give the reader a fuller understanding of how illness impacts people’s lives.
Anne has also taught business writing, consulted to communications firms, and edited manuscripts. She conducts creative writing workshops in memoir and poetry and is currently completing a memoir. Anne lives in Atlanta with her husband.
Visit Anne’s website at
The poems in A History of Nursing combine the professional life of a woman in the healing arts with the other aspects of her life. Just as she can never stop being the child of her parents, and adult woman, or a mother, a life in nursing colors everything she does and feels. When the nurse becomes a critically ill patient, all of those elements fuse, making her understand the impact she, as a nurse, has had on others.

Anne spent twenty-five years working in critical care areas, emergency departments, and nursing administration. During those years, her poetry appeared in many literary journals and anthologies, including Intensive Care: More Poetry and Prose by Nurses and The Poetry of Nursing: Poems and Commentaries of Leading Nurse Poets.
2356 Bolton Road
“The House on Bolton Road”
This is a poem that Anne wrote about her grandparents house. 
Miles Hughes built the home in the 1920’s.
This poem is included in “ A History of Nursing”

The House on Bolton Road
by Anne Hughes Webster

I drive past it on the way to the airport.
Shabby men lounge with their cigarettes
on the front steps. The vast spread of grass
where I built small towns with acorns
in the roots of an absent fir tree has shrunk
to a weedy strip only yards from the street.
Instead of a rabbit warren rooming house,
I see the brick fortress, my grandmother
Annie's house, her gift from a mail order groom,
a dirt farmer turned insurance salesman.

I want to turn in the driveway, tell the guys,
"I used to live here. Can I come in and look around?"
I would walk up those steps, past the screen porch
where Annie taught me how to crochet doilies,
into the living room, chairs circled like wagons
around a wood stove, down the long hall,
make a left turn to the kitchen where a heart attack
took my grandfather, where I sat after school
in first grade listening to Stella Dallas,
watching Annie push her weight into the handle
of a grinder, making meat loaf for supper
while my parents worked downtown.

My big sister and I slept across from the kitchen,
in the room where Annie's parents had died,
the refuge my sister shoved me from when
she heard noises in the night. Again, I tiptoe
down the haunted hall past Annie's snoring,
past Reggie Sue, the boarder, to the front room
to wake our parents. I would find them there,
still beautiful, in their thirties with jet hair,
wrapped in each other's arms, innocent as me
at six of the time when whisky would drive
a stake through the heart of their marriage
and Daddy would sit among men like those
on the steps, trying to warm himself in the sun.

© Anne Webster