Diane Ackerman (born October 7, 1948) is an American poet, essayist, and naturalist known for her wide-ranging curiosity and poetic explorations of the natural world.
Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms including animals, fungi and plants in their environment; leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history is called a naturalist or natural historian.
Ackerman received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Among the members of her dissertation committee was Carl Sagan, an astronomer and the creator of the Cosmos television series.She has taught at a number of universities, including Columbia and Cornell.
A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.
The Pennsylvania State University is a state-related, land-grant, doctoral university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvania. Founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania, and later known as the University of State College, Penn State conducts teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. Its University Park campus, the flagship campus, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township. It has two law schools: Penn State Law, on the school's University Park campus, and Dickinson Law, located in Carlisle, 90 miles south of State College. The College of Medicine is located in Hershey. Penn State has another 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special mission campuses located across the state. Penn State has been labeled one of the "Public Ivies," a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.
A Master of Arts is a person who was admitted to a type of master's degree awarded by universities in many countries, and the degree is also named Master of Arts in colloquial speech. The degree is usually contrasted with the Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree typically study linguistics, history, communication studies, diplomacy, public administration, political science, or other subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.
Her essays have appeared in The New York Times , Smithsonian , Parade , The New Yorker , National Geographic , and many other journals.Her research has taken her to such diverse locales as Mata Atlantic in Brazil (working with endangered golden lion tamarins), Patagonia (right whales), Hawaii (humpback whales), California (tagging monarch butterflies at their overwintering sites), French Frigate Shoals (monk seals), Toroshima, Japan (short-tailed albatross), Texas (with Bat Conservation International), the Amazon rainforest, and Antarctica (penguins). In 1986, she was a semi-finalist for NASA's Journalist-in-Space Project —this program was cancelled after the Space Shuttle Challenger (carrying Christa McAuliffe as a payload specialist with the Teacher in Space Project) disaster. A molecule has been named after her—dianeackerone—a crocodilian sex pheromone.
The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.
Parade is an American nationwide Sunday newspaper magazine, distributed in more than 700 newspapers in the United States. It was founded in 1941 and is owned by Athlon Media Group, which purchased it from Advance Publications. The most widely read magazine in the U.S., Parade has a circulation of 32 million and a readership of 54.1 million. As of 2015, its editor is Anne Krueger.
The New Yorker is an American magazine featuring journalism, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. Started as a weekly in 1925, the magazine is now published 47 times annually, with five of these issues covering two-week spans. Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside New York and is read internationally. It is well known for its illustrated and often topical covers, its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana, its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews, its rigorous fact checking and copy editing, its journalism on politics and social issues, and its single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.
A collection of her manuscripts, writings and papers (the Diane Ackerman Papers, 1971–1997—Collection No. 6299) is housed at the Cornell University Library.
Her works of nonfiction include, most recently, The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, which celebrates nature, human ingenuity, and explores how we've become the dominant force of change on the planet;her memoir One Hundred Names for Love, about stroke, aphasia, and healing; Dawn Light, a poetic meditation on dawn and awakening; The Zookeeper's Wife, narrative nonfiction set in Warsaw during World War II, a tale of people, animals, and subversive acts of compassion; An Alchemy of Mind about the marvels and mysteries of the brain, based on modern neuroscience; Cultivating Delight, a natural history of her garden; Deep Play, which considers play, creativity, and our need for transcendence; A Slender Thread, about her work as a crisis line counselor; The Rarest of the Rare and The Moon by Whale Light, in which she explores the plight and fascination of endangered animals; A Natural History of Love, a literary tour of love's many facets; On Extended Wings, her memoir of flying; and A Natural History of the Senses, an exploration of the five senses.
A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding. Both result in parts of the brain not functioning properly. Signs and symptoms of a stroke may include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body, problems understanding or speaking, dizziness, or loss of vision to one side. Signs and symptoms often appear soon after the stroke has occurred. If symptoms last less than one or two hours it is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke may also be associated with a severe headache. The symptoms of a stroke can be permanent. Long-term complications may include pneumonia or loss of bladder control.
Aphasia is an inability to comprehend or formulate language because of damage to specific brain regions. This damage is typically caused by a cerebral vascular accident (stroke), or head trauma; however, these are not the only possible causes. To be diagnosed with aphasia, a person's speech or language must be significantly impaired in one of the four communication modalities following acquired brain injury or have significant decline over a short time period. The four communication modalities are auditory comprehension, verbal expression, reading and writing, and functional communication.
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.780 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Her poetry has been published in leading literary journals, and in collections, including Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems.Her first book of poetry, The Planets, A Cosmic Pastoral was gifted by Carl Sagan to Timothy Leary while Leary was imprisoned. Her verse play, Reverse Thunder, celebrates the passionate and tragic life of the 17th century nun, and fellow poet and naturalist, Juana Inés de la Cruz. Ackerman also writes nature books for children.
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.
Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, O.S.H., was a self-taught scholar and student of scientific thought, philosopher, composer, and poet of the Baroque school, and Hieronymite nun of New Spain (Mexico). Her outspoken opinions granted her lifelong names such as, "The Tenth Muse", "The Phoenix of America", or the "Mexican Phoenix".
A movie adaptation of Ackerman's book, The Zookeeper's Wife , starring Jessica Chastain as Antonina Żabińska, was released in the US on March 31, 2017.More photos of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of The Zookeeper's Wife may be seen at the website called "The House Under the Crazy Star".
In 1995, Ackerman hosted a five-part Nova miniseries, Mystery of the Senses , based on her book, A Natural History of the Senses .On Extended Wings was adapted for the stage by Norma Jean Giffin, and was performed at the William Redfield Theater in New York City (1987). A musical adaptation (by Paul Goldstaub) of her dramatic poem, Reverse Thunder, was performed at Old Dominion University (1992).
In 2015, Ackerman's The Human Age won the National Outdoor Book Award in the Natural History Literature categoryand PEN New England's Henry David Thoreau Prize for nature writing. In 2012, she was a finalist for both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Circle Award for One Hundred Names for Love. The Zookeeper's Wife received an Orion Book Award in 2008. She has received a D. Lit from Kenyon College, Guggenheim Fellowship, John Burroughs Nature Award, Lavan Poetry Prize, and has been honored as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library. Ackerman has had three New York Times bestsellers: The Human Age (2014), The Zookeeper's Wife (2008), and A Natural History of the Senses (1990). She is a Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.
Ackerman was married to the novelist Paul West. She lives in Ithaca, New York.
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.
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.
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Diane Keaton is an American actress, director, producer, photographer, real estate developer, author and singer. She has received various accolades, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and the AFI Life Achievement Award.
The National Book Critics Circle Awards are a set of annual American literary awards by the National Book Critics Circle to promote "the finest books and reviews published in English". The first NBCC awards were announced and presented January 16, 1976.
Mary Jane Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2007 The New York Times described her as "far and away, this country's best-selling poet."
Nikola Jean "Niki" Caro is a New Zealand film director and screenwriter. Her 2002 film Whale Rider was critically praised and won a number of awards at international film festivals. She was hired to direct the 2020 live-action version of Disney's Mulan, making her the second female director hired by Disney to direct a film budgeted at over $100 million.
Kirkus Reviews is an American book review magazine founded in 1933 by Virginia Kirkus (1893–1980). The magazine is headquartered in New York City.
Paul Noden West was a British-born American novelist, poet, and essayist. He was born in Eckington, Derbyshire in England to Alfred and Mildred (Noden) West. Before his death, he resided in Ithaca, New York, with his wife Diane Ackerman, a writer, poet, and naturalist. West is the author of more than 50 books.
A Natural History of the Senses is a 1990 non-fiction book by American author, poet, and naturalist Diane Ackerman. In this book, Ackerman examines both the science of how the different senses work, and the varied means by which different cultures have sought to stimulate the senses. The book was the inspiration for the five-part Nova miniseries Mystery of the Senses (1995) in which Ackerman appeared as the presenter.
The Warsaw Zoological Garden, known simply as the Warsaw Zoo, is a scientific zoo located alongside the Vistula River in Warsaw, Poland. The zoo covers about 40 hectares in central Warsaw, and sees around 1,000,000 visitors annually, making it one of the busiest zoos in Europe. It is home to over 4,200 animals representing more than 500 species.
Mystery of the Senses is a five-part Nova miniseries, based on the book A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, who also presents the documentary. Each episode covers one of the traditional five senses: hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch. The series premiered on PBS on February 19, 1995.
Aileen Lucia Fisher was an American writer of more than a hundred children's books, including poetry, picture books in verse, prose about nature and America, biographies, Bible themed books, plays, and articles for magazines and journals. Her poems have been anthologized many times and are frequently used in textbooks. In 1978 she was awarded the second National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Born in Michigan, Fisher moved to Colorado as an adult and lived there for the rest of her life.
The Zookeeper's Wife is a non-fiction book written by the poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman. Drawing on the unpublished diary of Antonina Żabińska, it recounts the true story of how Antonina and her husband, Jan Żabiński, director of the Warsaw Zoo, saved the lives of 300 Jews who had been imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto following the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. The book was first published in 2007 by W. W. Norton.
Across the Universe is a trilogy of young adult science fiction novels written by American author Beth Revis. Chronicling the life of Amy Martin aboard a generation ship hundreds of years in the future, Across the Universe, the first novel published in 2011 by Penguin Books, received a starred Kirkus review and made the New York Bestseller List for Children's Chapter Books.
Jeanne Mackin is an American author and a fellow of the American Antiquarian Society. Her published novels include A Lady of Good Family, The Beautiful American, The Sweet By and By, Dreams of Empire, The Queen’s War and The Frenchwoman. She published a trilogy of mysteries with New American Library, writing as Anna Maclean. The mysteries were also translated and published in Japan. She has authored several nonfiction books and written creative nonfiction and feature articles for The New York Times, Americana, Fiberarts and other national publications. Working with Finger Lakes Productions, she helped develop, write and edit scripts for nationally broadcast radio programs including Nature Watch and the Ocean Report with Sylvia Earle.
Allison Pataki is an American author and journalist. Her five historical novels are The Traitor's Wife: The Woman Behind Benedict Arnold and the Plan to Betray America, The Accidental Empress, Sisi: Empress on Her Own, Where the Light Falls, and Beauty in the Broken Places.
Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning is a 2012 popular science book by research psychologist Gary Marcus. It documents the author's process of learning the guitar while discussing aspects of music cognition and the role of critical periods in learning a musical ability. The book was released on January 19, 2012 and published by Penguin Books, and in December 2012 was released as a paperback under the title Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age.
The Zookeeper's Wife is a 2017 war drama film directed by Niki Caro, written by Angela Workman and based on Diane Ackerman's non-fiction book of the same name. The film tells the true story of how Jan and Antonina Żabiński rescued hundreds of Jews from the Germans by hiding them in their Warsaw zoo during World War II. It stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Brühl and Michael McElhatton.
Kathleen Spivack, née Drucker is an American poet and author.
Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words is a book from conversations of musician Joni Mitchell compiled by broadcast journalist, musician, and author Malka Marom. The book is composed of conversations recorded on three separate occasions, between the years 1973 and 2012. In describing the panoramic appeal of this book, literary publications such as Kirkus Reviews as well as fan sites such as Goodreads, consistently praise Marom's ability to respect Mitchell's artistry, while asking direct, pertinent questions.
Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me is a 2017 memoir by writer and photographer Bill Hayes, primarily recounting his life in New York City and his romantic relationship with neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks over the last seven years of Sacks' life. The book is composed of vignettes narrated in prose, interspersed with poetry and diary entries, and is illustrated with Hayes' photographs.
"School Prayer" is a poem written by American poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman; it is the first of 50 poems in Ackerman's book I Praise My Destroyer, which was published in 1998. "School Prayer" is a pledge to protect and revere nature, in every form it may appear. The poem was recited and discussed by Garrison Keillor on his daily podcast The Writer's Almanac.