Nature: garden, paradise, or wilderness?

This is a review of The Cincinnati Arch by John Tallmadge. This review is part of a series called Small Rain, exploring the history of urban nature writing.

The Cincinnati Arch: Learning from Nature in the City is John Tallmadge’s account of moving to Cincinnati and the slow process of discovering nature in his new home, and with it, a connection to a place he never thought he could like, let alone feel a deep sense of belonging to. The book begins with Tallmadge and his pregnant wife moving from Minnesota to Cincinnati. The opening line of the book states: I never wanted to live in Cincinnati, Ohio. Why move there then? Because Tallmadge has been fired from his associate professor position and with a child on the way, he is forced to take a dean position at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati.

Continue readingNature: garden, paradise, or wilderness?

A history of urban nature writing

Image from Wildlife in the City by Alan C. Jenkins
Image from Wildlife in the City by Alan C. Jenkins

22 January 2018: I will keep updating the list with new urban nature related books I encounter. However, I have decided from now on to focus in on books that provide a creative and personal response to urban nature. That means I won’t be reading any more guidebooks or academic books as part of this series. No doubt I will get around to owning/reading them because there are many fascinating academic texts exploring a number of urban nature themes and I love the way guidebooks reflect changes in attitudes towards urban nature over time, but the list is getting ever longer and I’d like to finish this project at some point!

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Some time ago (I don’t remember when or how – though I can guess that I was probably on a train, which is where I have all my best ideas) the idea popped into my head to read and review every work of urban nature writing ever published, from Richard Jefferies’s Nature Near London, right up to the present day when the genre seems to have exploded. Once lodged in my mind, the idea refused to budge and it has been there ever since. Continue readingA history of urban nature writing