How to live in ruins
When Lee Chilcote and his wife Katherine bought a townhouse in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland in 2006, they explored the city – going to every new bar and restaurant, joining a rowing team on the Cuyahoga River, and volunteering with nonprofits and creating a giving circle.
Then, two years later, the city became ground zero for the foreclosure crisis. Although they were luckier than most, their middle-class lives were threatened by the calamity of the 2008 recession. The couple’s home value went down by a third right around the time their first child was born.
Yet they knew they wanted to raise their family in an urban environment. As parents, they faced a decision: should they stay or should they go? After looking at homes in Shaker Heights, where many of their friends were moving, they decided to hunker down through the worst of the recession.
They moved into a newly renovated four-bedroom home in Detroit Shoreway that had previously been a bank-owned foreclosure. Now more likely to be pushing a stroller to the playground than walking to the bar, they soon shared playdates with other parents and built an even stronger bond with the community. Living in a diverse neighborhood also meant being confronted by the tough issues of poverty, inequality and gentrification, from the area’s homeless population to the crumbling local schools.
The poems in How to Live in Ruins tell one couple’s story of moving into Cleveland and deciding to raise a family there. This is a book for anyone who has ever loved a place that’s a little bit rusty and tried to make it better.
"Brings Cleveland in all its rough beauty, its poetry of ruins, to vivid, hardscrabble life." -- George Bilgere
"A beautifully crafted homage to Cleveland; one that manages to embrace the complications of both parenthood and urban living." -- Kelly Fordon
Available at Visible Voice, Mac's Backs, Loganberry Books, The Learned Owl, Fireside Bookshop, Appletree and more. Also available on Amazon here.
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