The author of twenty celebrated books of poetry and nonfiction, Diane Ackerman offers a new collection of masterfully crafted poems with an unusual focus.
At the heart of Origami Bridges is the delicate relationship of trust between analyst and patient, a relationship that grows out of the emotional give-and-take of the psychoanalytic process. In this collection, Diane Ackerman, with astonishing candor, lays bare her desires, anger, jealousy, fears, and anxiety as she probes not only her psychic landscape but also her past. And what gradually rises to the surface is an understanding of how the poet uses verse to purge her demons, express her delight, or confess secret longing, and through this process come to a better understanding of the self.
Ackerman's energy and passion are everywhere in evidence, and "she makes the task of putting words to the wordless seem effortless" [Manchester Journal]. Exuberant, lyrical, these are deeply felt poems about life and one of its most important relationships. This collection is Diane Ackerman at the height of her powers as a poet.
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Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of many highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses -- a book beloved by readers all over the worldand the volumes Deep Play, A Slender Thread, The Rarest of the Rare, A Natural History of Love, The Moon by Whale Light, and a memoir on flying, On Extended Wings.
Her poetry has been collected into six volumes, among them Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems and, most recently, Praise My Destroyer.
Ms. Ackerman has received many prizes and awards, including the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize. A Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor at the University of Richmond. Ms. Ackerman also has the unusual distinction of having had a molecule named after her -- dianeackerone. She lives in upstate New York.From Publishers Weekly:
Celebrated for her wide-ranging and personal essays on nature, art and love, Ackerman (A Natural History of the Senses; Deep Play) has also maintained a career as a poet; this latest volume of short poems "emerged, hot off the heart" (as Ackerman's introduction explains) from her intense and gratifying experience of psychoanalysis. Sometimes addressed to herself and her personal history, at least as often addressed to "Dr. B-," Ackerman's passionate free verse (short, fluent and adorned by irregular rhyme) describes with nearly unmixed awe the relationship she created with her analyst, and the personal transformation she achieved. Unfortunately, the results fare badly as art: cliches, predictable figuration, mixed metaphor, and clunky diction mar almost every page of this strikingly rough, even amateurish, sequence. Very familiar figures for the events and feelings of therapy-and for introspection in general- abound. Patient and doctor "journey alone together/ through the wild country of the soul." Ackerman' speaker "weeps as she nabs/ a fugitive memory/ in an ecstasy of shame"; fears that "I'll lose my inner voice," and devotes one poem to a youthful, hopeful alter ego called Molly: "I can't revive Molly's utopia," she explains, "but I believe there lived and loved once/ a frisky scamp like her." "By reading you/ reading me trying to read you," Ackerman says near the end of her analysis, "I build idioms of acceptance/ from grief's residue"; such self-trust and self-confidence may be admirable in life, but in these poems they sound like self- involvement. Readers who want revealing, white-hot verse based on psychotherapy should stick with Anne Sexton (whose late work these poems faintly resemble); fans of Ackerman's prose will not find her compositional skills in evidence here.
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