Summer J. Hart
Author of Boomhouse (forthcoming in 2022) & 3rd Thing 2021 Land Acknowledgment Writer
Summer J. Hart is an interdisciplinary artist and writer living in Cold Spring, New York, a Hudson River town on the traditional land of the Munsee Lenape. Her written and visual artworks are influenced by folklore, superstition, divination, and forgotten territories reclaimed by nature. She is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Boomhouse (2022, The 3rd Thing Press.) Her poetry can be found in Waxwing, The Massachusetts Review, Northern New England Review, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her mixed-media installations have been featured in galleries including Pen + Brush, NYC; Gitana Rosa Gallery at Paterson Art Factory, Paterson, NJ; and LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA. She is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation.
Both my visual and written artworks are about obsessiveness and obsession, memory, identity, and longing. I am interested in family lore—Who perished in an ice fishing hole? Who could swim with snapping turtles? Who was the greatest logger who ever lived?—as well as the passing down of knowledge: how to prepare fiddlehead ferns, the best spots for foraging gold thread, goose grass, or wild blueberries.
The poems that appear in the 2021 3rd Thing Press books are part of my ongoing series, Auspices. These poems look for meaning, for auspiciousness in the flight patterns of birds, the shifting of ice on the river, the vacancies our bodies leave—concretely, an indent from kneeling; lyrically, snow drifts charting what remains.
Based on historical and oral accounts, superstitious customs, and family lore, Boomhouse travels a chain of rivers and lakes from Canada to Bangor, Maine, centering around the mill town of Millinocket. It navigates complicated northern waterways and the equally complicated dynamics of families that are both Native and settler. Boomhouse weaves a narrative about the fortitude it takes to break cycles of poverty, abuse, racism, and alcoholism. Millinocket, “the land of many islands” in Abenaki—a once booming “Magic City,” sprung up seemingly overnight out of the wilderness—is now a land of many ghosts.