Cover image for Urban nature : poems about wildlife in the city
Urban nature : poems about wildlife in the city
Bosselaar, Laure-Anne, 1943-
First edition.
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, MN : Milkweed Editions, 2000.
Physical Description:
xx, 265 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS595.N22 U63 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"Urban Nature" celebrates nature's resiliency and captures the many faces of wildness in the city with poems by more than 130 emerging and recognized poets.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The city is considered nature's opposite, but humankind is as much a part of nature as any other earthly species, and cities are as vital and natural as coral reefs and termite mounds. Emily Hiestand, poetry editor of Orion magazine, crystallizes this recognition in her sagacious and lyrical introduction to this pathfinding anthology, and editor Bosselaar presents poems of supple wit, grace, and acuity by more than 130 poets that marvel at nature's myriad improvisations in the realm of concrete, brick, glass, steel, and automobiles. Metaphors unite the human made and the natural with great finesse in the poems of Diane Ackerman, Gary Snyder, Amy Clampitt, Edward Hirsch, and Gerald Stern, and in every urban scene, life abounds. Sterling Plumpp writes of pigeons; Stuart Dybek discovers a swatch of forgotten wildness behind a billboard; and Linda Hogan sees the heavens on the paved earth: "the potholes are full / of light and stars, the moon's many faces." Bosselaar's anthology is a resonant testament to life's irrepressibility. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

"I do not do nature," insists Peter E. Murphy; "give me a home/ without buffalo and cows/ and trees that annoy/ with their loud branches/ scratching the panes/ of my well-insulated house." Once the city was a stay against nature, but more recently it has become a threat to it. Still, "urban nature" is not the oxymoron you might at first think. The poems in this volume, by writers unknown and established, remind us of the ginkgoes, pigeons, squirrels, and rivers. But there is much more: Lewis Hyde recalls the goldfish gotten at Woolworth's for a penny, then flushed away when they were no longer amusing, only to live on in the murky rivers of urban legends. Len Roberts recalls a regular spring ritual: "She's out there again with her five-cent/ packages of seeds." Whether it is watching ants play soccer in Central Park (Anthony Piccione), dreaming of an amorous giant roach (Martin Espada), or observing a red salamander looking for love in the wrong placeDthis time in a video store parking lot (Mark DeFoe), nature has subtly encroached on our hard urban paradise. The city is concrete and glass, jazz, noisy child-play, and traffic. Finally, though, people are beginning to see, to understand, the delicate balance. Except, perhaps, Murphy: "How does anything get/ done when you're out/ there picking flowers,/ petting dogs, staring/ at stars that clutter/ the night sky?" Highly enjoyableDand recommended.DLouis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.