Diane Ackerman at the 2007 Texas Book Festival.
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
Ackerman lived in Waukegan, Illinois, until she was 8, when her family moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania. She attended Pinemere Camp; for her first summer in 1961.
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 1978, where her dissertation advisor was Carl Sagan. 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, whose stroke in 2006, became the basis of 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.
Ackerman's book A Natural History of the Senses inspired the five-part Nova miniseries Mystery of the Senses, which she hosted. In 2008 she won the Orion Book Award for The Zookeeper's Wife.
The Great Affair
The great affair, the love affair with life,
is to live as variously as possible,
to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred,
climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day..
It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery,
but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.
– Diane Ackerman, "found poetry" from A Natural History of the Senses 
- The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral (1976)
- Wife of Light (1978)
- Lady Faustus (1983)
- Reverse Thunder (verse play) (1988)
- Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems (1991)
- Animal Sense (2000)
- Origami Bridges (2002)
- I Praise My Destroyer (2005)
- 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.
- ^ "Diane Ackerman's 'One Hundred Names for Love': A wife brings her stricken husband back from the brink". The Seattle Times. May 28, 2011.
- ^  Orion Magazine Web site, home page, accessed April 7, 2008
- ^ The Great Affair