“Memory’s images, once they are fixed in words, are erased…Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once if I speak of it, or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little,” Italian author Italo Calvino wrote in his award-winning Invisible Cities - a book that consists of brief prose poems that explore what is imaginable through the descriptions of cities by the 13th-century Venetian adventurer Marco Polo.

In the book, Polo is engaged in a conversation between...

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