Rolling Reading Series lecture rescheduled for Jan. 31

January 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Mary E. Rolling Reading series lecture by Penn State professors Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin originally scheduled for Jan. 24 will now take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 in Paterno Library's Foster Auditorium.

TodayThe duo will discuss their collaborative book project, ”Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields,” during the presentation, which is free and open to the public.

Kasdorf, professor of English and women’s studies, is the author of three books in the Pitt Poetry Series including her most recent, “Poetry in America.” Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and earned her several accolades, including a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rubin, associate professor of art, 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.

Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin

Penn State professors Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin.

IMAGE: photo provided

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, Kasdorf and Rubin’s 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,” describes the book 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.”

The Mary E. Rolling Series is a program offered by Penn State’s Creative Writing Program in English that 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, University Libraries.  A full list of readings in the 2018-19 series can be found at


  • Shale Play (Rolling Reading Series)

    Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Steven Rubin will discuss their book, ”Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields,” on Thursday, Jan. 24 as part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series.

    IMAGE: photo provided

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 05, 2019