Poet and essayist Michael Chitwood was born in Rocky Mount, Virginia. He earned a BA from Emory & Henry College and an MFA from the University of Virginia. In his work, Chitwood explores the Appalachian landscape of his youth and frequently draws on colloquial speech and themes. His many collections of poetry include Salt Works (1992), Whet (1995), The Weave Room (1998), Gospel Road Going (2002), which won the Roanoke-Chowan Prize for Poetry, From Whence (2007), Spill (2007), and Poor-Mouth Jubilee (2010).
His collections of essays include Hitting Below the Bible Belt: Baptist Voodoo, Blood Kin, Grandma's Teeth, and Other Stories from the South (1998) and Finishing Touches (2006). A freelance writer, Chitwood is also a lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Even two years later, she still gets correspondence
addressed to him. Correspondence. This like that.
The one on the ground lofts two at a time
with just the right lift for them to finish
their rise as the one on the scaffold turns
At the end of the work day
you could tell exactly how far you had gotten
and how much farther you had to go.
Here were said the words men say.
The oil stove winked its slit black eye;
it knew they did not have their way.