Friday, February 12, 2010

how to describe a city

I love Phillip Larkin's description of a city in his poem Here, which I posted the other day. The way the landscape morphs, he manages to say everything about the place through pure description.

Another whose cities seem to sparkle in my mind is F. Scott Fitzgerald. Take this, for example, from The Great Gatsby.
Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.

Yes I'm reading at work.. it's so quiet here tonight..