Lee Chilcote is a journalist, poet, nonfiction writer and singer-songwriter. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Next City, Belt, Planning, Land and People and other publications. His poetry and creative nonfiction have been published by Great Lakes Review, Pacific Review, Oyez Review and others. His essays have appeared in the books Rust Belt Chic: A Cleveland Anthology, The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, and A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City. He previously served as editor of Fresh Water Cleveland and Editorial Director for Issue Media Group.
He is a founder of Literary Cleveland, an organization whose mission is to "advance and nurture a vibrant literary arts community in Northeast Ohio." While executive director from 2015-2018, Chilcote led the organization from an idea into the startup stage, creating programs such as Inkubator, Cleveland Stories and Gordon Square Review that served thousands of readers and writers annually.
In 2017, his chapbook of poems, The Shape of Home, was published by Finishing Line Press. His poem “Catching Sunfish” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and The Shape of Home was nominated for the Society of Midland Authors Award in Poetry. In 2018, he published his second chapbook, How to Live in Ruins, which focuses on his family's decision to move to Cleveland in the wake of the recession, the revitalization of Rust Belt cities, and urban inequality.
Chilcote has taught creative writing and literature at Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library and others. He is also a singer-songwriter who has written and performed original songs at venues around Cleveland with his band, The Bad Garfunkels.
He attended Middlebury College, Lincoln College at Oxford University, and Cleveland State University, where he obtained master’s degrees in English/Creative Nonfiction and Public Administration and was awarded the Leonard Trawick Prize for Creative Writing and the Robert E. and Ada Hagan Public Service Scholarship. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland in a 1900 Victorian house with his wife, Katherine, and their three children.