W. K. STRATTON – Author


Dreaming Sam Peckinpah
Ink Brush Press, September 2011

Dreaming Sam Peckinpah, a unique collection of poetry written by W.K. Stratton organized around themes that are reflected in the great film director's works.


Finalist: Texas Institute of Letters Bush Award for First Book of Poetry 

Finalist: Oklahoma Book Award in Poetry

Boxing Shadows
With Anissa "The Assassin" Zamarron
University of Texas Press, October 2009

Reaching the top in any sport requires a long, hard climb. But when you start with the baggage of years of family dysfunction and incarceration in a hellish mental hospital, the climb is especially steep. Yet even with such weights to carry, Anissa Zamarron won not one, but two, world championships in women's boxing. Her story, as dramatically intense as the Clint Eastwood film Million Dollar Baby, is one of tremendous courage and determination to overcome the odds against her as a Latina and as a woman working through mental illness and addiction--a fight in which Zamarron has been as powerful and successful as she has been in the boxing ring.

In this compelling biography, acclaimed author W. K. "Kip" Stratton collaborates with Zamarron to tell the story of her unlikely rise to the pinnacle of women's boxing. With searing honesty, Zamarron describes how the chaotic breakup of her childhood family caused her to develop "demons" that drove her to aggressive behavior in school, an addiction to self-destructive habits, including cutting, and eventually to a corrupt for-profit mental hospital in which she spent eighteen months tied to a bed. She explains how boxing became her salvation as an adult; she learned how to turn her anger and aggression into motivation to train hard and excel at her sport, not only becoming the first woman to fight as a professional in a sanctioned fight in New York, but also fighting more ten-round fights than any other woman in history. A gripping account of Zamarron's 2005 upset win over Maribel Zurita to claim her second world championship caps the book.

Chasing the Rodeo:
On Wild Rides and Big Dreams, Broken Hearts and Broken Bones, and One Man's Search for the West
Harcourt, May 2005

In 2003,W. K. Stratton hit the road to follow the rodeo. Exploring roundup history and the current rodeo scene, he rediscovered this quintessentially Western sport. But Stratton found far more than calf-roping and bucking broncos, uncovering a culture complete with myths, codes of honor, Cowboy Church, a skyrocketing popularity spurred on by televised events, and young superstar cowboys called to seek their particular kind of greatness in the chutes and arenas of the West.

In Chasing the Rodeo, Kip Stratton creates a portrait of rodeo that is at once loving and critical, personal and cultural, and mixes colorful characters and high stakes with a story of finding one's truth. Along the way, Stratton runs into the specter of the runaway "rodeo bum" father he never knew. In making this journey, he just might find part of the cowboy dream that was his father's legacy-and capture the longing of everyone who's ever followed the rodeo trail.

Finalist: Texas Institute of Letters' Carr P. Collins Award
Splendor in the Short Grass:
The Grover Lewis Reader
University of Texas Press, April 2005

Grover Lewis was one of the defining voices of the New Journalism of the 1960s and 1970s. His wry, acutely observed, fluently written essays for Rolling Stone and the Village Voice set a standard for other writers of the time, including Hunter S. Thompson, Joe Eszterhas, Timothy Ferris, Chet Flippo, and Tim Cahill, who said of Lewis, "He was the best of us." Pioneering the "on location" reportage that has become a fixture of features about moviemaking and live music, Lewis cut through the celebrity hype and captured the real spirit of the counterculture, including its artificiality and surprising banality.

Jan Reid and W. K. Stratton have selected and arranged the material around themes that preoccupied Lewis throughout his life--movies, music, and loss. The editors' biographical introduction, the foreword by Dave Hickey, and a remembrance by Robert Draper discuss how Lewis's early struggles to escape his working-class, anti-intellectual Texas roots for the world of ideas in books and movies made him a natural proponent of the counterculture that he chronicled so brilliantly. They also pay tribute to Lewis's groundbreaking talent as a stylist, whose unique voice deserves to be more widely known by today's readers.

Finalist: Texas Institute of Letters' Carr P. Collins Award
Backyard Brawl:
Inside the Blood Feud Between Texas and Texas A&M

Crown, September 2002 

In Backyard Brawl, W. K. Stratton takes you through this rivalry and its history, covering the years when the game was postponed because the fans were just too violent, the branding of UT’s beloved steer, Bevo, by a renegade Aggie, the kidnapping of A&M’s beloved Reveille by boisterous UT students, the theft of UT’s cannon, Old Smokey, and its unceremonious dumping into the murky waters of Austin’s Town Lake, and the fistfights that broke out when celebrating UT fans rushed A&M’s nearly sacred Kyle Field after Texas won the last-ever Southwest Conference title on the Aggies' home turf.

Finalist: Oklahoma Book Award

W.K. Stratton. All rights reserved.

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Photo of W.K. Stratton by Brian H. Powell

Floyd Patterson

The Fighting Life of Boxing's Invisible Champion

"Stratton provides some fascinating insight into, surely, the most inscrutable heavyweight champion we've ever had. His book about Floyd Patterson is comprehensive and sensitive, as it seeks to help us understand a man who seemed so temperamentally in contradiction to his profession." —Frank Deford


Floyd Patterson



Other Titles By W.K. Stratton