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.