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About this poet

A recipient of the Academy of American Poets Lavan Award, Diane Ackerman is the author of five poetry collections, including Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems (Random House, 1991). 

Letter to Dr. B—

Diane Ackerman
I have found you among the texts
(but not the textures) of your life,
in the library of your cunning,
where the abstracts of forty papers
open, one by one, like small windows
partly sealed by terminology's lacquer.
They reveal you both aloof and enthralled,
a restless mind of intersecting planes.

How can I resist the paper "Artist and Analyst"?
Yet I do, thinking it best to stay
within the frame we've chosen,
using the palette we invent,
creating a mosaic in motion.
Whenever I set a shard in place,
the mosaic evolves, blurs a moment,
then a new scene refines, throwing past into relief,
drawing present into mind.

So I will sacrifice my yen to know
the what and whim of you. Though my curiosity
is swelling like a Magellanic Cloud
filled with a luminous starfield of questions,
I'll sacrifice them on the altar of our ineffable 
cause. A padded altar. A cause quilted with passion,
and insight whose razors cut clean as thrill.
A sacrifice intoxicating as any pill.

From Origami Bridges by Diane Ackerman. Copyright © 2003 by Diane Ackerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

From Origami Bridges by Diane Ackerman. Copyright © 2003 by Diane Ackerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

Diane Ackerman

A recipient of the Academy of American Poets Lavan Award, Diane Ackerman is the author of five poetry collections, including Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems (Random House, 1991).