Inspired by the presentation of the psycho-somatic in Cronenberg’s, The Brood – where characters adopt grotesque physical manifestations of past trauma – in The Burns Unit Nina Ines Ward incorporates additional complexities of time, such as delayed effect. This results in a series of poems detailing an individual’s experience at the unit, suffering symptoms without cause, where events take weeks to occur and physical injuries are treated before they even happen. As the body breaks down, conversations with rats form an understanding of the symbols around them, and a non-linear healing process begins.
In The Burns Unit, Nina Ines Ward offers us her ‘body on the table,’ her ‘house in the river’ that is ‘still on fire.’ Ward brings us with her as ‘the wound begins to happen,’ as she examines, expertly but not coldly, the only places that aren’t numb - ‘the openings.’ I never want to look away from these poems, which are as sharp and enduring as a scalpel, wielded just as masterfully, and unmatched in their tender, dreamlike horror. - Francesca Kritikos, author of Exercise in Desire (forthcoming 2022)
Ward’s poems are an excavation of the body in distress. The language here probes and fingers through complex subjects, finding in them a site of endless intrigue. We are placed into a world that allures with its viscerality, one that is at times tender and at others clinical. The Burns Unit asks us: what happens after the trauma? If the body is a home, what happens when that home is compromised? Where do we go? - Gboyega Odubanjo, author of While I Yet Live