Notes from the Marcellus Shale

Bill Crandall and Craig Czury

As with the coal industry of the past, fracking has begun to change the face and earth rhythms of rural northeastern Pennsylvania. With the advent of Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the Endless Mountains, the vanguard of an enormous energy play has arrived in the hollows, towns, and landscapes of this pastoral region.

Residents watch in a state of conflicting emotions. For some, joy – economic salvation in exchange for allowing drilling on their land. For others, horror – as evidence of the environmental problems that can follow becomes clearer.

Poet Craig Czury chronicles the voices of everyday people trying to navigate this divide. Hitchhiking up and down the backroads to gather stories – what he calls ‘thumb notes’ – from gas workers and residents alike, Czury creates a verbal mosaic from shards of conversations.

An industry so pervasive is often, paradoxically, barely visible, innocuous amid the rolling hills. Bill Crandall’s suggestive landscapes quietly convey the power both of what can be seen – the gothic genius loci of the ancient terrain – and infer what cannot: the profound forces at work deep under the surface.

 

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