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. The real Hoosiers final game is replayed, 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
Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure


Five poems in Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature (XXIX.1) and (XXXV111.2)
“The Street of Heavens,” in Louisiana Literature (30, no. 3)
“Career-Ending,” in Poems & Plays #20 (no. 29)
“Headhunting,” in Tar River Poetry (52, no. 2)
“Two-Handed Set Shot,” from Hoosiers the Poems reprinted in Indiana Basketball
History Magazine
(summer 2014)
An essay, “Collecting Dust,” about my centenarian parents will be published in Under
the Sun
in summer, 2014

A review of Swimming in the Shallow End, by Peter Makuck, was published in Tar River Poetry (52, no. 2). Barrett T. Richardson’s review of that collection appeared in The Virginian-Pilot on May 12, 2013. Both were very positive.

On blogger John King’s The Drunken Odyssey, he interviews me about my work, especially sports and the new chapbook, Hoosiers the Poems. See Episode 58.

Hyunsoo Leo Kim of The Virginian-Pilot has put together a two-minute montage of my readings from Swimming in the Shallow End and the new collection I am working on. It can be viewed at http:/​/​​mW4Sb_aiygA. ©2013, The Virginian-Pilot, reprinted with permission.


March 21 – Reading at the Virginia Festival of the Book,
University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA, 2:00 pm

March 27 – Reading at Christopher Newport University
Trible Library, Newport News, VA 4:00 pm

October 9 – Reading at Old Dominion University Literary Festival,
Norfolk, VA 1:30 pm


James Joyce Symposium, Paris, France
Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, VA
Prince Books, Norfolk, VA
Ball State University, Muncie, IN
Danner’s Bookstore, Muncie, IN
Chesapeake Poetry Festival, Chesapeake, VA
Sports Literature Association, London, Canada
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
Associated Writing Programs, New Orleans, LA
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
and Public Policy, Norfolk, VA
Seventh Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Urbana-Champagne
Barnes and Noble, Virginia Beach, VA
Westminster-Canterbury, Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Beach Sports Club, Virginia Beach, VA
Modern Language Association, Washington, DC
Unitarian Church of Norfolk, VA
Big Blue Club, Norfolk, VA
Old Dominion University Literary Festival (1, 15, 25, 26, 36)
Center for Middletown Studies, Muncie, IN
Barnes and Noble, Indianapolis, IN
Waldenbooks, Columbus, IN
Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, Virginia Beach, VA
Minnetrista Cultural Center, Muncie, IN
Brick Street Poetry, Zionsville, IN