City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness
Edited by Gavin Van Horn and Dave Aftandilian
We usually think of cities as the domain of humans—yet we are just one of thousands of species who calls the urban landscape home. City Creatures is rooted in Chicago’s landscape, but nature lovers from cities around the globe will discover a wealth of urban animal encounters that will open their senses to new worlds that have been there all along. The powerful combination of insightful narratives, numinous poetry, and full-color art throughout the book invites readers to see the city—and the creatures who share it with us—in an entirely new light.
Wildness: Relations of People and Place
Edited by Gavin Van Horn and John Hausdoerffer
The relative wild—degrees of wild relatedness across landscapes and depth of wild kinship in place—set the tone for each contributor’s exploratory journey into what wildness is, what it could be, and how it might be recovered in our lives. The essays in this volume navigate a path that scans from the ground up, telling stories about real people in real places, across the landscape continuum, from formally designated wilderness areas to densely populated urban neighborhoods. In all these landscape types, there is wildness to be found and wildness to which we are linked by mutual responsibility, and stories that provide models for living-with and becoming-more.
Zoomorphic 4 (January 2016)
"Ever since I moved to Chicago, I’ve been pondering the question of whether there is a single animal that best captures the essence of this city. Can an animal incarnate a place?..."
Red Savina Review (2015), Nominated for a "Best of the Net" Award
"I don’t know you, magpie. I know your corvid cousins. I discovered a valuable lesson some time ago: follow the crows, that’s where the action is. (When for reasons of their own, they aren’t following you.) I am guessing the same is true of you, Maggie. Can I call you that? No, you’re right—too familiar, not yet..."
"The Senseless Barrier between Science and Art"
Aldo Leopold Foundation Blog (September 2015)
"Humans are storytellers. They are also storydwellers..."
EcoTheo Review (March 2014)
"In the beginning … was the story. Before the word was the Word, before there were buildings, before there were high priests, before there were commandments, before there was writing itself, there was story. The rocks in the landscape, the creatures that dwelt nearby, the lights puncturing the vaulted dome of sky, the paths amidst them—these were the mnemonics of story, offering a living cartography of relationship..."
City Creatures Essays
The Channel Coyotes: Otherworlds of the Urban Wild
Chicago University Press (forthcoming)
I am currently working on a new book of creative nonfiction, The Channel Coyotes, a series of personal essays that highlight various urban animals and they ways in which they can expand our care for and understandings of place. One way to describe the book: Lao-Tzu (legendary author of the Tao Te Ching), Aldo Leopold (legendary ecologist), and the quintessential urban trickster, Coyote, meet for drinks, then go hiking and reeling through Chicago's streets, forest preserves, and shorelines in search of an urban land ethic.