The City We’re In

Imagining Cities: Urban Poetry and Fiction

Poetry and fiction in and about cities is nothing new. But around the world cities are becoming more numerous and rapidly evolving—growing larger and faster than ever before, each at once remaining unique and revealing similarities, all both a challenge and a promise to the future of our societies and environment. In these dualities we seek a nature of cities and communities that are resilient, livable, sustainable, and just.

Poets and fiction writers are striving to reveal the invisible infrastructure of their communities, generating new works out of their activism and everyday practice. They are reaching out to practitioners in other disciplines, from architecture to ecology, to expand vocabularies and explore new directions. The Nature of Cities is welcoming writers in an intentionally broad conversation about cities, asking them to illuminate the city they are in. It is a chance for all of us to remember and imagine our city.

The Nature of Cities is curating a series of poems and fiction from around the world on themes of cities: communities, infrastructure, open space, and nature. It is a series about the cities of our dreams: resilient, sustainable, livable, and just. One example of this approach can be seen in Stories of the Nature of Cities, our short fiction contest series. Stories from that project, plus other fiction, poetry, and imaginative essays will appear here.

Teleportation and the Reinvention of the World’s Cities: A 20-year Retrospective
Rob McDonald,  Washington, DC

It began, like electricity before it, as a new technology for the rich in lower Manhattan to play with. A daring startup, Helios Travel, began offering teleportation from Greenwich (Connecticut) to Wall Street for the princely sum of $10,000 a pop. Many potential customers couldn’t handle the idea of all...

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The Singing Air
Andreas Weber,  Berlin

“…as if refusing to be caught / In any singular vision of my eye / Or in the nets and cages of my thought, / They tower up, shatter, and madden space / With their divergences, are each alone / Swallowed from sight.”— Richard Wilbur, An Event (excerpt) In the last...

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2046, year of our lady The Fog
Claudia Luna Fuentes,  Saltillo

This is part of the TNOC poetry and fiction series “The City We’re In”. Lea el poema en español, su idioma original. Lisez le poème en français. 2046, year of our lady The Fog Poems by Claudia Luna Fuentes Translation from Spanish by Gerardo Mendoza Garza _____________________________________________ 2046, año de...

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World Enough: Tales from the Bottom of the Garden
Katrine Claassens,  Montreal

If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it you would be amazed at the animals that fall out: badgers, wolves, boa constrictors, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, capybaras, wild boars, leopards, manatees, ruminants, in untold numbers. There is no doubt in my mind that that...

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Time of the Poppies
Andreas Weber,  Berlin

“Do you seek the highest, the greatest? The plant can teach you to do so. What it is without will of its own, that you should be with intent – that’s the point!” —Friedrich Schiller Some days ago, after giving a lecture in a west German city, I arrived back...

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