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.