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Diane Ackerman was born in Waukegan, Illinois. She received her B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her poetry has been published in many leading literary journals, and in the books The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral (1976), Wife of Light (1978), Lady Faustus (1983), Reverse Thunder: A Dramatic Poem (1988), Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems (1991), and I Praise My Destroyer (1998).
Her works of nonfiction include, most recently Deep Play (1999); A Natural History of Love (1994); The Moon By Whalelight and Other Adventures Among Bats, Crocodilians, Penguins, and Whales (1991); and On Extended Wings (1985).
Ms. Ackerman has received the Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, among other recognitions. She has taught at several universities, including Columbia and Cornell and she is currently a staff writer for The New Yorker.