New poetry book on fracking read at Bowers, lecturers share artwork

Katie Weiler October 20, 2017 0

The Bowers Writers House held two events featuring Julia Spicher Kasdorf, the latter a joint effort with Steven Rubin on Thursday, Oct. 12.

The pair is joining forces in a new book on the effects of fracking, which will feature both poems from Spicher Kasdorf and photographs from Rubin. Fracking is the process of shooting liquid into the ground at high pressure to release oil or gas from the open fissures.

The Bowers Writers House living room held many pictures from Rubin’s portfolio that will be shown in their upcoming book, estimated to be out next fall.

During the event, Spicher Kasdorf read from various poems that will be in the work.

The two guests both started separately working on their fracking investigation in 2012 and then later decided to work together.

The event was introduced by Megan Marchetti, a first-year in professor of English Dr. Louis Martin’s honors class. In class they have read part of Spicher Kasdorf’s book, “Sleeping Preacher.”

“It’s an eye-opener to see the effect of extraction on people and land,” Marchetti said. “It’s kind of scary.”

Spicher Kasdorf is an activist against fracking. However she shared both sides of the issue. During the event she talked about the families that would get ill from nearby extraction, and how there was evidence of water contamination in places like Dimock Township in Pennsylvania when there was fracking from the Marcellus Formation.

She also added that some farmers, would have wells out on their land, and it would not affect their everyday lives at all. In a poem, she shared that some people now had extra money to buy more farm equipment or even paint their house.

Spicher Kasdorf shared that fracking was initially spelled “fracing” but since the avid protesting signs commonly spelled it the other way it was soon changed. She joked that protesters had at least got that accomplished.

Some of Rubin’s pictures shared protests, with people speaking out against fracking. Others showed people at a pro-fracking rally held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who claimed to be the “silent majority” in the debate over fracking.

After the event members of the audience asked what they could do to stop fracking.

“Become politically active: vote and write to your representative,” Martin shared with the room. Additionally, Martin advised everyone to become informed.

At the end of the event Rubin shared a little bit about his photos.

“They don’t convey what happened in the moment before or after,” Rubin said. This is part of the reason he chose to be involved with the project, so that poems could accompany his photos and add more than the pictures could tell.

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