In her first new book of poetry since Jaguar of Sweet Laughter, Diane Ackerman combines her deep understanding of the world with her immense passion for language to craft richly sensual poems that "honor all life/wherever and in whatever form/it may deal".
Imbued with ravishing imagery, these exuberant and lyrical explorations of aging, longing, and death demonstrate Ackerman's full engagement with every aspect of life's process. The poet and naturalist muses on the confines of therapy sessions, where she interests "twice a week/in a painstaking hide-and-seek/making do with half-light, half-speak"; relishes the succulent pleasure of eating an apricot, with its "gush of taboo sweetness"; and imagines the "unupholstered voice, a life in outline" in her stunning elegy to C. S. Lewis. Whimsical, organic, and wise, the poems in I Praise My Destroyer affirm Ackerman's place as one of the most enchanting poets writing today. Diane Ackerman's poems reveal her intense response to the several worlds of nature, science, and society. Her lyricism fuses wit and sobriety, meditation and activism, and she confronts us with figures both real and fantastic. As always, her strong connection with the natural world, the realms of language and literature, myth and imagination, combines with her deep understanding of the sciences to offer her readers a singular American voice. This is not a voice crying in the wilderness, but one that gives forth songs of joy and wonder.
Organized into seven sections, including "Timed Talk", "By Atoms Moved", and "Tender Mercies", "I Praise My Destroyer" is less an assorted collection than an organically coherent whole, one that reveals Ackerman's true calling as a twentieth-century metaphysical poet of the highest order.
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