First Rolling Reading of 2019: Shale Play, by Kasdorf and Rubin, on 1/24

Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin will present their collaborative documentary project and book Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields on Thursday, January 24, as part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series. The event will be held at 7:30 pm in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium.

Kasdorf is author of three books in the Pitt Poetry Series, most recently Poetry in America. Her poems were awarded a 2009 NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize and appear in numerous anthologies. She is a Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State, where she teaches creative writing. Rubin is a documentary photographer whose work addresses rural poverty, refugee migration, immigrant detention, and the social and environmental impacts of energy development. He has been a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India, a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellow, and an Open Society Institute Media Fellow. He is an Associate Professor of Art at Penn State, where he teaches photography.

In the parlance of the oil and gas industry, “shale play” refers to a region exploited for its natural gas by means of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—transient industrial processes that often occur far from the populations that benefit from them. Amid polarized claims about fracking and pressure to develop these areas around the world, this project gathers evidence from everyday life in the Marcellus Shale Play. Rosa Furneaux of Mother Jones magazine characterizes Shale Play as “a collage of voices, drawing in the testimonies of activists, residents, industry lawyers, and workers. Kasdorf explores the nuances and tensions of her home state without allowing any one perspective to dominate.” Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature puts the work in perspective this way: “The long sleep of the Appalachians has been dramatically interrupted by the sudden discovery of the Marcellus Shale. This book helps us see and understand what that has meant for the region. It’s a classic tale, with echoes of the region’s past—and deep implications for the planet’s future.”

Mary E. Rolling Reading Series events are free and open to the public. The series is a project of Penn State’s Creative Writing Program in English. It receives generous support from the College of the Liberal Arts, the Department of English, the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment, the Mary E. Rolling Lectureship in Creative Writing, and the University Libraries.

Upcoming Opportunities for Student Writers: Kalliope and Contests!

FAME FORTUNE 1, by Anut Propper Goldenberg,

Penn State Undergraduate Writers Take Note!

Several upcoming opportunities for FAME and FORTUNE at Penn State:

January 20, midnight: submit your writing and/or art to KALLIOPE, Penn State’s Undergraduate Literary Magazine. Details here:

January 28: submit to the English Department’s Undergraduate Writing Contests. Details here:

Questions? Contact Alison Jaenicke,



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