The Shape of Home by Lee Chilcote


In this wry, poignant collection of poems, Chilcote writes about the homes we’re shaped by as well as the homes we shape as adults. His poems are about finding your voice in the midst of struggle, taking the experiences of growing up in a place and creating something new out of the old, and nurturing a family, a marriage and a creative life in the aftermath of the recession.


This is the poet-as-father-homemaker-musician, who is late to parties, argues about the greatest guitarist of all time, and is left awestruck at the sight of his own father because “Protestants have fathers who / only appear at night.” If the Midwest has a certain tone of voice and subject — as a place that is somehow always the present abruptly set amid the rusty ruins of the past — then this is what Chilcote captures so triumphantly against the din of music, the cloud of booze, the scramble of children, and the presence of Love, who, as in his poem “Caveat Emptor,” is “the architect who shrugs his shoulders.” A delightful, intimate, and thoroughly noteworthy debut.

–Brad Ricca, author of American Mastodon, winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award


Lee Chilcote is not interested in a vapid beauty that smooths over invisible barriers and difficult loves. The clamor of the world makes itself heard in his poems. His “muses are sirens, trains, barking dogs.” The Shape of Home curves lovingly around children that spring up “like sunflowers,” but these poems report as well on the black thread that runs through desires and dreams.

–Susan Grimm, author of Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue and other books


The Shape of a Home is a debut collection of poems that are as refreshingly honest as they are tender, witty, and compassionate. Lee Chilcote is clearly a welcome new voice to American poetry.

–Nin Andrews, author of Why God Is a Woman and other books



The Shape of Home

by Lee Chilcote

$14.99, paper

Lee Chilcote lives in a 1900 Victorian in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, Katherine, and their three children. He has worked as a community organizer, real estate developer, writer and teacher. He attended Middlebury College, Lincoln College at Oxford University, and Cleveland State University, where he obtained a master’s degree in English and Creative Nonfiction and was awarded the Leonard Trawick Prize for Creative Writing.

Chilcote is a journalist, essayist and poet. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt, Planning, Land and People and numerous other publications. His poetry and creative nonfiction have been published by Great Lakes ReviewPacific ReviewOyez Review and others. His essays have appeared in the books Rust Belt Chic: A Cleveland Anthology, The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, and A Race Anthology. 

He serves as executive director of the nonprofit Literary Cleveland, whose mission is to help writers develop their craft, create a strong network of writers, and connect writers to the community


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