Her poems were awarded a 2009 NEA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize and appear in numerous anthologies. She thinks about the relationships that writers have with the communities and places they come from and also those places they choose to inhabit. Past projects along these lines include a collection of essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life, winner of the 2002 Book of the Year Award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature, and a monograph, Fixing Tradition: Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American. She has worked on new editions of Yoder’s 1940 local color classic Rosanna of the Amish, which is set in Centre and Mifflin Counties and Fred Lewis Pattee’s The House of the Black Ring, set in Centre County. With Michael Tyrell she coedited the anthology, Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. Julia Spicher Kasdorf Julia Spicher Kasdorf has published three collections of poetry with the University of Pittsburgh Press, most recently Poetry in America. She is currently working with photographer Steven Rubin on a poetry project to document the impacts of natural gas development in Pennsylvania. www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/julia-kasdorf Among the previous collections, Eve’s Striptease was named one of Library Journal‘s Top 20 Best Poetry Books of 1998, and Sleeping Preacher won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and the Great Lakes College’s Association Award for New Writing.
Among Landowners and Industrial Stakeholders, the Citizen with Too Much Memory Seeks Standing to Speak of Recent Events in Penn’s Wood When I drive south on I -78, diagonal highway from New York to Harrisburg, the Blue Mountain presses my right shoulder for miles, dividing coal tipples from hex signs on barns, French and Indian territory from the British colony. At Shartlesville in the parking lot of Roadside America, a giant Amish couple on a spring wagon marks my ancestors’ settlement at Northkill, the Hochstetler cabin, torched in 1757. After the fire, Lenape and Shawnee warriors marched Jacob and two of his sons for 17 days to the French Fort at Erie. Seven months later, Jacob escaped, walked nine nights and days through forest, eating grass. At the Susquehanna, he lashed logs with grape vines and floated south for four days until British soldiers fished him out, nearly dead, at Fort Augusta or Shamokin, now Sunbury, corporate headquarters of Weis Markets. Growing up, we knew the Hochstetlers had guns but would not shoot; the warriors killed Jacob’s wife, whose name no one recalls, because she refused to share fruit with them. When we misbehaved, Dad threatened to give us back to the Indians. We didn’t know that Christian Hochstetler kept running back to his captors after he was returned to his parents. We didn’t know Barbara Kauffman grabbed an ax and hacked the fingers of braves as they tried to climb through her cabin window. The men ran screaming into the forest. Penn’s surveyors carved initials into the trunks of great trees—white oak, black oak, red oak, hickory, and walnut—sighted a compass from the trunk of the corner tree and stretched iron measuring chains to make boundaries. Corner trees they called witness trees. When Shikellemy ruled the refugees at Shamokin, he implored the Lenape, Seneca, and Tutelo to grow corn, squash, and beans but to refrain from planting apples and peaches for fear they would create a plantation. During the French and Indian War, braves from the Forks of the Ohio, now Pittsburgh, attacked six European families near a trading post on Penns Creek, slaying 14 and capturing 28, among them the wife and children of