NEW RELEASE (April, 2013)

Narrative poetry at its best. A verse memoir that examines the archetypal American conflict between the desire to stay and the passion to go. Take any community; every street, in and out, is crowded with the dreams and frustrations of characters who seek their identities on the road or in their favorite diners. In an exchange of stories between the narrator who returns like the prodigal son and his wayfaring friend, the worlds of the Bronx and Paris and Hanoi are not far from Muncie, Indiana. Like William Carlos Williams’ Rutherford, New Jersey, and B. H. Fairchild’s Liberal, Kansas, Philip Raisor’s Middletown is a neighborhood pool that never seems long or deep enough, but grows large in memory and the imagination.

“Raisor’s poems spring vividly from the country, with ‘enough farm philosophy / to clog a pig,’ and move out into the wider world with wisdom, humor and a stubborn resistance to despair. They look through the world’s pain and confusion toward meaning and hope, which all our best poems do.” Peter Meinke

“Academics and journalists have written thousands of pages about Muncie, Indiana, the city Robert and Helen Lynd made famous as ‘Middletown,’ but there is nothing like Swimming in the Shallow End. Raisor evokes the experience of living in and coming from this quintessentially American community—its joys and sorrows, its characters, its feel—in a way no social survey could.” James J. Connolly, Director of the Center of Middletown Studies

“Philip Raisor’s finely crafted collection is about the hometown that still haunts us long after we have left it. This skillfully unified narrative brings to mind James Joyce’s Dubliners and the need to leave home for a wider perspective. Accessible, vivid, rhythmic, thoughtful, and inventive, these poems closely observe our physical world. Swimming in the Shallow End is an impressive, memorable book.” Peter Makuck

NEW RELEASE (July, 2013)

In Hoosiers the poems, Raisor turns to one of America’s great passions: basketball. Fans in the stands, kids on playgrounds, last-second shots, old-timers remembering glory days. Who has not seen ‘Hoosiers’?” Raisor asks, recalling the 1986 movie often identified as one of the sports world’s all-time favorites. Having played in the Indiana state championship game that inspired the movie, and later a teammate of Wilt Chamberlain at Kansas, Raisor reviews that youthful time with a temperate but somewhat jaundiced eye. He replays the humor, drama, and spiritual sustenance of the athletes’ world of the 1950s, but he cannot erase from his mental map the injuries, racism, war, and unfulfilled dreams that girded the social and personal outrage eventually released in the 1960s.



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