City Wilds

Essays and Stories about Urban Nature

Edited by Terrell F. Dixon

Title Details

Pages: 336

Illustrations: 1 figure

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 02/28/2002

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2339-8

List Price: $26.95

City Wilds

Essays and Stories about Urban Nature

Edited by Terrell F. Dixon

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Contributors

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 80 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.

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

City Wilds is the book I have been waiting for! And I have no doubt that others will feel the same, especially if they teach classes on ecocriticism, nature writing, or urban culture. . . . Not only does Dixon's collection help heal the rift between nature and city, it is also a pleasure to read. The stories and essays are, for the most part, thoughtful, beautiful, attentive, insightful, and grounded. . . . City Wilds is the text I needed to fill a gap in my syllabi, but it is also a collection I enjoyed reading for its own sake, and one that makes an important contribution to the development of a more inclusive environmental consciousness.


It is impossible to do justice to thirty-five stories in one review. So I'll tell you thata they're all interesting and personal—some serious or funny, some joyful or sad, some a combination—and that in all their far-flung diversity, each illustrates that all-important intimacy. . . . City Wilds is a story collection book-loving naturalists would appreciate.

—Canadian Field-Naturalist

bell hooks

Betsy Hilbert

Bob Marshall

Charles Siebert

Chet Raymo

David Wicinas

David Louie

Denise Chávez

Edward Jones

Emily Hiestand

Gerald Vizenor

Helena Viramontes

Jan Grover

Jesus Salvador Treviño

John Mitchell

Joy Williams

Leonard Dubkin

Lisa Couturier

Michael Rockland

Paulino Lim

Susan Power

Rebecca Johnson

Richard Brautigan

Rick Bass

Robert Pyle

Ronald L. Fair

Sandra Cisneros

Sergio Troncosco

Stephen Harrigan

Susan Tweit

Trish Maharam

Wendell Mayo

William Goyen

Alison Deming

About the Author/Editor

TERRELL F. 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.