NEW RELEASE (September 1, 2014)

Publication date: September 1, 2014

Publisher: WordTech Communications, LLC, Turning Point Books

Price: $18.00

Purchase: (distributors) Ingram
(individuals),,,, and other bookstores

Contact: and Philip Raisor,, 757-363-8748, See also:

“In Phil Raisor’s Headhunting, we are given high-def poems rooted in the world of sports but, more than that, they are life poems realized through the medium of sport. The voices found in these pages are honest, elegant, raw, filled with kinetic energy and wisdom we all sweat for—whether we are athletes or not. After savoring this collection, it’s impossible not to wonder how, in a country so mesmerized by sports, how we have lived without a poetry that celebrates their full complexity? These poems do this and do it beautifully.” Tim Seibles, author of Fast Animal

Headhunting and Other Sports Poems, Philip Raisor’s third collection, explores how sports enters our lives through front, back, and side doors, while we are asleep or dying, arguing, praying, or running hell-bent from memories that won’t let go. Knee injuries end an athlete’s career, a wife prefers the opera to a husband’s hockey night, war and domestic violence haunt games played by sons, daughters, and fathers, Phil Mickelson and Wilt Chamberlain make cameo appearances, a life-long sports addict petitions for entrance to heaven. Raisor digs at the dark areas in sports experience to pry loose principles worth preserving, games worth celebrating. He honors American sport for its joy, pain, and what it says about us.

“It’s unusual to find someone who has both experience with sport at a rarified level, and the chops to evoke the games we play with such imagination and resonance, but that’s what you’ll find in these pages. Philip Raisor is the bard of those times when, as he puts it, ‘everything is on the line but your life.’ If there’s consonance between Raisor’s subjects and our memories, it’s because the heads in the poet’s crosshairs are, in so many instances, our own.” Alexander Wolff, author of Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure


Swimming in the Shallow End (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

Hoosiers the poems (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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