The Life, Deer Hunting in Rain, Ties, Chalk, and Threads, End of Another Day

Michael Chitwood by Catherine A. Moore.

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The Life, Deer Hunting in Rain, Ties, Chalk, and Threads, End of Another Day

by Michael Chitwood, MichaelMcFee
Southern Cultures, Vol. 23, No. 2: Summer 2017

Honoring Our Poetry Editor

“What you notice becomes your life,” writes Michael Chitwood, in the last line of the last poem in his magnificent book The Weave Room (1998). What he has noticed, so sharply and for so long—in eight collections of poetry, in two books of essays, and as the first and only poetry editor of Southern Cultures, for the past sixteen years—is, in fact, life, everyday life, the details of the life we everyday humans live and share, particularly in this region of the country and in the Virginia mountains of his upbringing. In all of Chitwood’s work, he pays attention to things too often or too easily overlooked, holding them up as worthy of noticing and appreciating: the threads clinging to mill workers as they finish their shift, the left- over dirt at a graveside, a stick of chalk, “The Small- Town Voice of God” at a Friday night football game, coins at the bottom of a swimming pool, and even “The Seagulls of Wal-Mart.” He relishes “a new day’s clean slate” and the opportunity to convert that day’s details into vivid, original, playful, thoughtful words, ones that sound just right in the mouth and the ear and the mind.

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