Contaminants of Concern by Eleonor Botoman

 

Source: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live

Method: The backbone of this poem is the EPA’s database of Superfund sites across the United States. The words in each line of the poem are derived from documents about these sites that can be accessed by the general public. These documents contained scientific analyses of the chemical pollution on the site, potential threats to human health, and plans for cleanup. However, there was very little information describing the toll these sites took on local communities long before the EPA intervened, oftentimes leading to health problems that stretched across generations before these toxins were contained. I decided to take this impersonal, bureaucratic language used by the EPA and reconfigure it into a more honest history of these sites.

Eleonor Botoman is currently a student at Barnard College studying creative writing and art history. Her writing has appeared in BUST magazine, Interiors JournalThe Barnard BulletinEchoes, and more. Originally from Florida, she is fascinated by the clinical language used to discuss man-made environmental disasters, climate change, and how this can influence contemporary ecopoetics.