Ongoing exhibition Feb. 6–March 15 at Messiah College — Shale Play: Documentary Art by Julia Kasdorf and Steven Rubin, an exhibition in collaboration with the Department of English Climenhaga Building, Climenhaga Galleries (upper)
Artist’s Talk/Poetry Reading and Reception: High Center, High Foundation Recital Hall, Feb. 7, 4:15 p.m.
Shale Play, a singular work from an award-winning poet and a veteran documentary photographer, tracks the natural gas boom in the small towns, fields and forests of Appalachian Pennsylvania. In the era of the visual and verbal meme, Rubin and Kasdorf pair documentary poems with photographs in a volume that can be held in the human hand and shared, even in communities that lack high speed internet access.
Interviews with the artists about the book, and the work that led to the book:
You may remember Julia Spicher Kasdorf’s work from the close of our April 2018 newsletter, copied here:
In honor of [the April 13, 2018 A Better Path Coalition] event, we will end with a powerful poem by Pennsylvania docupoet Julia Spicher Kasdorf. For more from her, including explorations of faith, bookmark this written interview to read with time to reflect.
But first, the poem:
“A Mother on the West Virginia Line Considers the Public Health”
The industry thinks I’m too dumb to back down; they don’t know
I do this for my Mom and Dad. They were 69 and 71.
He had pulmonary fibrosis, worked with asbestos all his life. She grew up
near the coke ovens back when kids were sent into the mines to pick coal.
So they both had lung problems, but their home, the next hollow over,
sits 350 feet from a compressor station. We sealed the house,
set up an air scrubber, but—four of their neighbors passed last year, too.
We bought the coal rights to our 115 acres because we know
the company will come up to your front door, but we let the gas go,
just didn’t see this coming. A gentleman from New Jersey leased our land.
One day we come home to find pink ribbons tied in the field. Then bulldozers.
They put in four shallow wells and a Marcellus well on a 5-acre pad