From the same interview as last time, I’m also in this half hour on the history of the infamous Ludlow Massacre:
This one is close to my heart as I do a lot more with this subject than just talk about it on TV.
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I remember an honors project at Colostate.Pueblo in 1998 called “The Glass Negative: Under the Sky, Central Colorado.” Students studied photos from your region at the darkest time of the Ludlow mine. I was a faculty member then and asked to write poems for some of the pix. I actually found your blog via your fine post on MOOCs but this distraction and memory was too much fun to resist (even with a stack of essay to read larger than Pikes Peak…). With respect for your ideas and work, Will Hochman
Little Girl in the Kitchen
Her image crawls out from emulsion
under the glass negative to clutch
her dolly and offer love that bare walls
and an empty cupboard don’t.
Her eyes (a constant blur beyond hope)
won’t look to nearby Colorado mountains
for gold, at four or five she’s already
clouded and sold into her coal dust life
–she knows no way for Daddy to move
but down, digging black ground deeper.
Those l913 Ludlow miners struck
for ten cents more a ton, hourly pay
for dead work, for their own weigh men,
and for just a slim chance out from under…
By 1914 grimness had gone beyond
cave-ins; miners and militia fought
in Ludlow’s high plains, tent town
where 900 men, women and children
were jack-hammered into death’s ore.
Colorado’s gray clouds today
find shapes almost like the dolly,
and almost human in their above
ground moment of holding on.
But the pain that burns these clouds
into life is a Colorado strip mine,
plowing under the photo sensitive grave
of this never-rescued girl, her gray rainfall
now our only prospect.
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"Rees has written a solid, comprehensive account of the technological creation of cold chains in the United States. I wish this book had been available for me to read when I was doing my own research."—Mansel G. Blackford, Ohio State University.
jonrees [at] alumni [dot] upenn [dot] edu
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