A Poetry Mixtape Edited by Cicely Belle Blain
Cicely Belle's Liner Notes
In “Big City Feelings,” I have curated a collection of poems that speak to the emotional tether that binds many of us to urban environments. In my own work, I often write about the complexities of locational relations – the privilege of travel, connection, and a sense of home intertwined with the harshness of city life, particularly through a lens of class, race and gender.
Cities are often defined by landmarks, major events and pervasive generalizations about the people who inhabit them. The poems I have selected for this mixtape encourage contemplation about our perception of cities.
Moving from London to Vancouver pushed me to reflect on the personality of a city. London is centuries old and home to nine million people – its reputation is solidified. Vancouver, on the other hand, is an infant, born from colonial power, still being defined – or resisting definition. For this mixtape, I sought out writers exploring similar urban conundrums.
How we relate to cities is emotional. The smell in the air, the paving on the roads, the height of the buildings, the pace of the people, and the memories we have made there all evoke something different for each person. The poems I have chosen for this mixtape reflect that – how one’s identity or background influences how they relate to a city. For example, Jillian Christmas shares a story of surprise upon arriving in Whitehorse, while Lindsay Nixon recounts a moment of rage, rooted in trauma.
I hope you enjoy this journey through the crowds and chaos of metropolitan life and find, along the way, the inspiration to visit one of these places – or perhaps avoid them altogether.
Here are some of my favourite city-centred stories and narratives that conjure up all the big feels. In many of the fictional pieces, the city plays a central role - it is almost a character in itself. The specific location - real or imagined - is essential to the emotions evoked by the story.
Midnight in Paris
The Truman Show