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  • Writer's pictureNina Hanz


Updated: Dec 27, 2022

"Placeholders is a geo-cultural study of names, their origins and their signifiers seeking to bring an acute awareness to the gaze and tone of gendered suffering that has been placed and labelled onto nature. Throughout the pamphlet, I wanted to convey a strong sense of oral storytelling and musicality to introduce the patterns I saw not only in ancient mythology and folklore, but in contemporary and personal history.

I was born and spent the majority of my childhood in various states located on the Appalachian Mountains and the Deep South. This was a place where news historically travelled in the form of music as seen in the song writing by Bobbie Gentry and Dolly Parton, but also in the gendered genre of ‘murder ballads’ like The Louvin Brothers’ song Knoxville Girl. One of these local tragedies I grew up hearing about was of a young child named Jenny. Close to where I lived in New Jersey was a town named Hope. Hundreds of years prior to my living there, Jenny passed in a tragic accident while she was playing on the ridge of a sacred Native American burial ground. The ledged holds that her father saw a ghostly figure (most likely a Native American he perceived as a threat) behind her and told Jenny to immediately jump down to safety. But he was not able to catch her, and the loss was so grand it renamed the whole mountain. The intensity of emotion behind this legend instigated my research, making "Jenny Jump Mountain" the first poem I wrote as part of this series. The final piece to this pamphlet was the Gazetteer, a geographical index with personal and historical annotations at the end of the publication."

- Nina Hanz

Published by Bottlecap Press, February 2022. This pamphlet is also available at the Royal College of Art and the British Library.

Review of Placeholders:

'The Act of Naming' Review by Frith Taylor, Review 31, 2022


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