City wilds, urban gardening and black self-recovery

bell hooks, 1988 by Montikamoss – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45370215

This is a review of City Wilds, edited by Terrell Dixon. This review is part of a series called Small Rain, exploring the history of urban nature writing.

City Wilds is a collection of 35 essays and short stories that range across the US from New York to Los Angeles, and from Miami to Seattle, via Colorado. The authors also represent a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds including African American, Native American, Mexican American and Asian American writers – something that has been sorely missing from the Small Rain series to date.

City Wilds is about urban nature, but more than that it is about the ways in which people connect with nature. One of those ways is through gardening, and gardens crop up in many of the essays and stories. The gardens range from large and suburban, right down to a flower on a fire escape.

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