Trauma Sponges: Dispatches from the Scarred Heart of Emergency Response

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Product Details
$25.95  $24.13
University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.55 pounds

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About the Author

Jeremy Norton has been a firefighter/EMT with the Minneapolis Fire Department since 2000; he was promoted to captain in 2007 and heads Station 17 in south Minneapolis. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., he received a bachelor's degree from Tufts University and a master's degree in creative writing from Boston University. After teaching high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Norton moved to Minneapolis, where he taught creative writing at the Loft Literary Center before joining the MFD.


"With clarity and sensitivity, Jeremy Norton has written an eye-opening book that shows us what firefighting is often about: encountering medical emergencies more often than fires, helping strangers through the trauma of death and loss, and witnessing the ways that racism, poverty, and violence singe our society. Theirs is a particular courage that we must all celebrate."--Dr. Sunita Puri, author of That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour

"While many bear witness to injustice and decide that silence best serves their privilege, some use their privilege to dismantle the inequities that created the disparities in the first place. Jeremy Norton is the latter."--Dr. Michele Harper, author of The Beauty in Breaking

"Trauma Sponges is a powerful book, by turns tender, brutal, and incisive, full of wisdom and wonder. Jeremy Norton's compassionate vision and vivid, well-crafted prose make this much more than a collection of shock stories. Here we have it all: brilliantly rendered scenes of crisis and grief, a close-up view of the physical (and spiritual) grind firefighters embrace, a celebration of the communities they serve, existential reflections earned on the margins of life and death, and piercing critiques of some of the outmoded, frankly misogynist and racist attitudes that have plagued the station house. Norton is a thoughtful, courageous guide, our Virgil taking us through infernos both actual and metaphorical."--Sam Lipsyte, author No One Left to Come Looking for You and The Ask

"If you're looking for a hero with all the answers, that is not Jeremy Norton. Norton is the Poet Laureate of Emergency Services, a writer whose talent and heart spark and crackle on every page, devastating and dazzling with equal measure. He sorts through the wreckage of the lives he's saved and those that were lost, presenting us with what remains: our raw humanity and, somehow, hope."--Nora McInerny, founder of the Terrible, Thanks for Asking podcast and best-selling author of Bad Vibes Only