Categories Editor

Brute Neighbors: urban nature poetry, prose and photography

Edited By Chris Green and Liam Heneghan

“More than sixty of Chicago’s best writers and artists contributed work for this groundbreaking anthology, Brute Neighbors: urban nature poetry, prose & photography. The poems, stories, essays, and photographs in this anthology do not stand aloof—they are as bodies inclined forward in the wind, evidence of the mass of the Midwest and its retired meadows and active capitalism, the unaccountable wildness of the most common streets.”

— Editors


At a time when our environment is under constant threat, we turn to an unlikely source for answers: The city. In this urgent anthology, poets, photographers and essayists show there is much to be learned at the intersection of the urban and the wild.

Selected Poems

High Holidays

By Don Share Rabbit

Rabbit fur and hair strewn through the lawns
…..of the Midwest!
The famous feral parakeets of Chicago
…..are chattering
With cold. I want to drown myself
…..out with the roar
Of the greenish river that slices my city
…..into two.
Nothing pertains, if that’s the right word,
… what I’m hearing:
Little kids singing Benjamin Britten’s
…..Ceremony of Carols or, if only
In my mind’s ear, what I’m able to recall
…..of the Kol Nidre:
Rushing over the notes, as if in an unearthly
…..hurry to get someplace.

The Affect of Elms

By Reginald Gibbons (Reprinted by permission of the author and LSU press)

Across the narrow street from the old hotel that now
houses human damage temporarily—
deranged, debilitated, but up and around in their odd
postures, taking their meds, or maybe trading them—

is the little park, once a neighboring mansion’s side yard,
where beautiful huge old elm trees, long in that place,
stand in a close group over the mown green lawn
watered and well kept by the city, their shapes expressive:

the affect of elms is of struggle upward and survival,
of strength—despite past grief (the bowed languorous arches)
and torment (limbs in the last stopped attitude of writhing)—

while under them wander the deformed and tentative
persons, accompanied by voices, counting their footsteps,
exhaling the very breath the trees breathe in.

About the Editor

Chris Green is the author of three books of poetry: The Sky Over Walgreens, Epiphany School, and the forthcoming Résumé. His poetry has appeared in such publications as Poetry, New York Times, New Letters, Verse, Nimrod, and Black Clock.He’s edited four anthologies, including Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose & Photography, the forthcoming I Remember: A Poem by Chicago Veterans of War and the forthcoming Independent Voices: A Small Press Sampler. He co-founded LitCity (, a comprehensive literary site for Chicago. And he teaches in the English Department at DePaul University.

Currently Out of Stock at the DePaul Humanities Center