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Swimming in the Shallow End, Poems by Philip Raisor
Swimming in the Shallow End is 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 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
"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. Swimming in the Shallow End is an impressive, memorable book."--Peter Makuck
"These brilliant poems are full of disquieting images: broken statues, downtown decay, faded prints of the Klan, small town America. It's the land of myth, broken dreams, and family memories. In Philip Raisor's shallow end there are dark, unsettling places, but enough light to provide pleasure and great insight into a difficult world." --Norman Denzin
"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's poetry 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
Philip Raisor was born in Muncie, Indiana, and, though currently living in Virginia, he remains rooted to that community where his family has lived for over a hundred years. His most recent book, Outside Shooter: A Memoir, about sports, love, and race, narrates his growing up there and traces his basketball playing days through Indiana, Kansas (with Wilt Chamberlain), and Louisiana. Now a professor emeritus of English at Old Dominion University, Raisor’s poems have appeared in Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Midwest Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies and elsewhere. He has published articles, interviews, and reviews on Browning, Arnold, Joyce, Faulkner, and numerous contemporary writers, including a volume of essays on W. D. Snodgrass. His second collection, Headhunting and Other Sports Poems, is nearing completion.
ISBN 978-1625490087, 80 pages, $18.00