City Wilds
Essays and Stories about Urban Nature

Edited by Terrell F. Dixon

Celebrating the natural diversity of our cities


"What is urban nature? It's everything that's alive and everything of the natural world that enhances life in a city—trees, wildlife, weeds, and clouds. A sane environmentalism needs to break down the opposition between city and country and to look at the interpenetrations of wildness and culture in our great urban theaters. So this book is not only delightful and instructive; it's urgently important."
—Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States

"All the senses are alive in the best of these essays and stories. The writing proves the old theory that our finest metaphors come from nature, no matter where we find it."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

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The assumptions we make about nature writing too often lead us to see it only as a literature about wilderness or rural areas. This anthology broadens our awareness of American nature writing by featuring the flora, fauna, geology, and climate that enrich and shape urban life. Set in neither pristine nor exotic environs, these stories and essays take us to rivers, parks, vacant lots, lakes, gardens, and zoos as they convey nature's rich disregard of city limits signs.

With writings by women and men from cities in all regions of the country and from different ethnic traditions, the anthology reflects the geographic differences and multicultural makeup of our cities. Works by well-known and emerging contemporary writers are included as well as pieces from important twentieth-century urban nature writers.

Since more than eighty percent of Americans now live in urban areas, we need to enlarge our environmental concerns to encompass urban nature. By focusing on urban nature writing, the selections in City Wilds can help develop a more inclusive environmental consciousness, one that includes both the nature we see on a day-to-day basis and how such nearby nature is viewed by writers from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Page count: 336 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $25.95

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Terrell Dixon was one of the first teachers and scholars to focus on the literature of urban nature. Dixon is the author of numerous essays on ecocriticism and environmental literature and is coeditor of Being in the World: An Environmental Reader for Writers. He teaches literature and the environment and ecocomposition at the University of Houston.