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Diane Ackerman (born October 7, 1948) is an American author, poet, and naturalist known best for her work A Natural History of the Senses. Her writing style combines poetry, colloquial history, and popular science. She has taught at various universities, including Columbia and Cornell.
Life and career
She received her B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and an M.A., M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1979. Among the members of her dissertation committee was Carl Sagan, an astronomer and the originator of the Cosmos television series. Over the years she taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Cornell, Washington University in St. Louis, and other colleges.
She has been married to novelist Paul West since 1970. West suffered a disabling stroke in 2006; Ackerman describes their ensuing life together in her book, One Hundred Names for Love (2011). She currently lives in New York state.
A collection of her manuscripts, writings and papers (the Diane Ackerman Papers, 1971–1997—Collection No. 6299) is housed at the Cornell University Library.
- The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral. William-Morrow. 1976. OCLC 2189272.
- Wife of Light. Morrow. 1978. ISBN 9780688032869. OCLC 3481222.
- Lady Faustus. Morrow. 1983. ISBN 9780688023966. OCLC 9934454.
- Reverse Thunder. Lumen Books. 1988. ISBN 9780930829094. OCLC 20112973. A verse play.
- Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems. Vintage. 1991. ISBN 978-0679743040.
- I Praise My Destroyer. Random House. 1998. ISBN 9780679448785. OCLC 37451892. Subsequently reprinted in paperback versions.
- Animal Sense. Knopf. 2000. ISBN 9780375923845. OCLC 50035236. Poetry for children; illustrated by Peter Sis.
- Origami Bridges, Harper, 2002, ISBN 9780060199883, OCLC 49288115 Reprinted in a paperback version in 2003.
- Twilight of the Tenderfoot (1980)
- On Extended Wings (1985)
- A Natural History of the Senses (1990)
- The Moon by Whale Light, and Other Adventures Among Bats and Crocodilains, Penguins and Whales (1991)
- A Natural History of Love (1994)
- The Rarest of the Rare (1995)
- A Slender Thread (1997)
- Deep Play (1999)
- Cultivating Delight (2002)
- An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain (2004)
- The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story (2007)
- Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day (2009)
- One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing (2011)
- Monk Seal Hideaway (1995)
- Bats: Shadows in the Night (1997)
- Animal Sense (poetry) (2003)
- Salzman, Eva; Wack, Amy (2008). Women's Work : Modern Women Poets Writing in English. Bridgend: Seren books. p. 326. ISBN 9781854114310.
- Elizabeth A. Schick (1997). Current Biography Yearbook, 1997. H.W. Wilson. ISBN 9780824209384. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
- Richards, Linda L. (August 1999). "Interview: Diane Ackerman". January Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-31. "I didn't want to be a scientist. I just felt that the universe wasn't knowable from only one perspective. I wanted to be able to go exploring: follow my curiosity in both worlds. So I had a poet on my doctoral committee. And I had a scientist -- Carl Sagan. And I had someone in comparative literature. Essentially, they all ran interference for me so that I could -- ultimately -- write a dissertation that was about the metaphysical mind: science and art and be teaching and be in school while I was writing books."
- "Diane Ackerman's 'One Hundred Names for Love': A wife brings her stricken husband back from the brink". The Seattle Times. May 28, 2011.
- "2008 Orion Book Award Winner". Orion Magazine. April 1, 2008.
- The Great Affair