Ivy Tech Community College−Northeast English instructor and northeast Indiana native Troy Bigelow has written his first, full-length book of poetry, “Resuscitivity.” It has been awarded the Transcontinental Poetry Award sponsored by Pavement Saw Press. The release of the book coincides with National Poetry Month in April.
“‘Resuscitivity,’ the title of the book, is a word I invented to mean ‘the ability to be resuscitated, or revived with breath; inspired.’ That is the extended metaphor of the entire book—how to be able to breathe again after the breath is taken away,” Bigelow said. “This book shows how it feels to work in a factory after a coworker has died there, how it feels to lose a job, to save a rabbit from drowning, to watch a newborn’s face before she breathes her first breath; this book is a celebration of dying and living—an exhalation of what is human.”
Bigelow graduated from Garrett High School in 1989 and enrolled at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne as a Biology/Pre-Med major. It didn’t take him long to realize that his passion was not for becoming a doctor but a writer instead. He dropped out of college, continued to read voraciously, and wrote short stories and poetry while working in several factories. He then applied and was re-admitted to IPFW as an English major in 1993. After being laid off from his factory job on Christmas Day in 2006, he enrolled in graduate school and earned a Master of Arts in English from Indiana University at IPFW in 2009.
“Resuscitivity” is available at area bookstores and directly from the publisher at pavementsaw.org.
Upcoming Book Readings/Signings
May 2 Garrett (Ind.) Public Library 6:30 p.m.
May 6 Eckhart Public Library, Auburn, Ind. 6:30 p.m.
Bigelow tells the shameful story of the working class in the 21st century: the grind of dangerous jobs erased by the mass layoffs no one saw coming, the cold silence of joblessness. “Resuscitivity” is a necessary book for our times—vital poems that shine with intelligence, heart, and the beautiful “human language of the American.”
In “Resuscitivity,” Troy Bigelow reanimates the tradition of working-class poetics, launching a fusillade of Phil Levine, Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks and folk singer-songwriters Woody Guthrie and Pierce Pettis. “Resuscitivity” is, in the end, a celebration of community and Midwestern stoicism.
Calling to his brothers and sisters of the graveyard shift and to his family and pets, he examines the false borders between the individual and systemic forces that oppress. In the tradition of Thomas McGrath, Bigelow gives us a collection that is a love poem to family, labor and the world.