Cover image for Jaguar of sweet laughter : new & selected poems
Title:
Jaguar of sweet laughter : new & selected poems
Author:
Ackerman, Diane.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [1991]

©1991
Physical Description:
xv, 254 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780394576459

9780679402145
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS3551.C48 J34 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

In A Natural History of the Senses Diane Ackerman revealed herself as a naturalist who writes with the sensuous immediately of a great poet. Now Jaguar of Sweet Laughter presents the work of a poet with the precise and wondering eye of a gifted naturalist. Ackermans's Olympian vision records and transforms landscapes from Amazonia to Antarctica, while her imaginative empathy penetrates the otherness of hummingbirds, deer, and trilobites. But even as they draw readers into the wild heart of nature, Ackerman's poems are indelible reminders of what it is to be a human being -- the "jaguar of sweet laughter" that, according to Mayan mythology, astonished the world because it was the first animal to speak.


Summary

In A Natural History of the Senses Diane Ackerman revealed herself as a naturalist who writes with the sensuous immediately of a great poet. Now Jaguar of Sweet Laughter presents the work of a poet with the precise and wondering eye of a gifted naturalist. Ackermans's Olympian vision records and transforms landscapes from Amazonia to Antarctica, while her imaginative empathy penetrates the otherness of hummingbirds, deer, and trilobites. But even as they draw readers into the wild heart of nature, Ackerman's poems are indelible reminders of what it is to be a human being -- the "jaguar of sweet laughter" that, according to Mayan mythology, astonished the world because it was the first animal to speak. From the Trade Paperback edition.


Author Notes

Diane Ackerman was born on October 7, 1948 in Waukegan, Illinois. She received a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and her M.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. Poet, author, educator, adventurer, and naturalist, she tries to bridge science and art in her writing, exploring questions of who we are, where we come from, and how we fit into the fabric of the world.

She has written many books of poetry including The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral; Wife of Light; Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems; Origami Bridges: Poems of Psychoanalysis and Fire; and I Praise My Destroyer. Her nonfiction works include A Natural History of the Senses; A Natural History of Love; The Moon by Whale Light: And Other Adventures Among Bats, Crocodilians, Penguins, and Whales; An Alchemy of Mind; and On Extended Wings. She also writes nature books for children including Animal Sense; Monk Seal Hideaway; and Bats: Shadows in the Night. She is coeditor of a Norton anthology, The Book of Love. Her essays about nature and human nature have appeared in Parade, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker magazines. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by A Natural History of the Senses.

She received the Orion Book Award for The Zookeepers Wife. Her other awards include the Abbie Copps Poetry Prize, Black Warrior Poetry Prize, Pushcart Prize, Peter I. B. Lavan award, and the Wordsmith award. She has taught at a variety of universities, including Columbia and Cornell.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Diane Ackerman was born on October 7, 1948 in Waukegan, Illinois. She received a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and her M.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. Poet, author, educator, adventurer, and naturalist, she tries to bridge science and art in her writing, exploring questions of who we are, where we come from, and how we fit into the fabric of the world.

She has written many books of poetry including The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral; Wife of Light; Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems; Origami Bridges: Poems of Psychoanalysis and Fire; and I Praise My Destroyer. Her nonfiction works include A Natural History of the Senses; A Natural History of Love; The Moon by Whale Light: And Other Adventures Among Bats, Crocodilians, Penguins, and Whales; An Alchemy of Mind; and On Extended Wings. She also writes nature books for children including Animal Sense; Monk Seal Hideaway; and Bats: Shadows in the Night. She is coeditor of a Norton anthology, The Book of Love. Her essays about nature and human nature have appeared in Parade, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker magazines. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by A Natural History of the Senses.

She received the Orion Book Award for The Zookeepers Wife. Her other awards include the Abbie Copps Poetry Prize, Black Warrior Poetry Prize, Pushcart Prize, Peter I. B. Lavan award, and the Wordsmith award. She has taught at a variety of universities, including Columbia and Cornell.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

Ackerman inhales the world with every sense, cell, and pore and exhales in words that chime, sing, and ring. She's a deep breather and a deep thinker; her images are fresh, immediate, and memorable. This selection of new work and poems from earlier volumes, including Lady Faustus [BKL Ag 85], accentuates Ackerman's range of voices and moods. She can be teasing, flirtatious, and funny, as well as smart, scientific, tender, sad, wondrous, and ecstatic, but always sensual and richly feminine. In these glorious new poems, she writes of hummingbirds, penguins, deer, Halley's comet, the Amazon, Antarctica, waves, flying, teaching, and loving. The poetic forms are varied, elegant, and contoured, with rhythms sure and exhilarating as a ride in an expertly banked plane or sled or fast boat. "Drenched with life," Ackerman frees the exotic from the familiar, finds the familiar in the exotic, the large in the small, the personal in the vast. The second outstanding book from this shining poet, scholar, and prose stylist in less than a year (see A Natural History of the Senses [BKL My 1 90]) and a must for poetry collections of any size. ~--Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses , here offers new poems and reprises some from previous collections. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Here is the fifth book of poems from the author of the best-selling A Natural History of the Senses ( LJ 5/1/90) . Ackerman's lyrical voice and her feeling for detail and nuance are omnipresent in this work, assembled from prior books with ten new poems. An original, occasionally askew voice comes through in the new ones, especially where she presents herself as ``a bright fragile I am'' that ``hoists things out of their routine and lays them out to be fumbled and explored.'' Frequently, she speaks in a no-nonsense voice, as in her address to Sylvia Plath: ``You wanted life to derange you,/ to sample its real muscle,/ you wanted to be a word on the lips of the abyss.'' One of today's love-bards, Ackerman can denigrate when she has to, but she can be full of admiration, as in her poem-letter to Loren Eiseley: ``I feasted on the spellbinding fruit you grew--/ that way of beholding which is a form of prayer.'' These are poems also full of respect for the many dimensions of animal mysteries and the miracles of exotic landscapes from the Amazon to Antartica.-- Rosaly Demaios Roffman, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania, Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

Ackerman inhales the world with every sense, cell, and pore and exhales in words that chime, sing, and ring. She's a deep breather and a deep thinker; her images are fresh, immediate, and memorable. This selection of new work and poems from earlier volumes, including Lady Faustus [BKL Ag 85], accentuates Ackerman's range of voices and moods. She can be teasing, flirtatious, and funny, as well as smart, scientific, tender, sad, wondrous, and ecstatic, but always sensual and richly feminine. In these glorious new poems, she writes of hummingbirds, penguins, deer, Halley's comet, the Amazon, Antarctica, waves, flying, teaching, and loving. The poetic forms are varied, elegant, and contoured, with rhythms sure and exhilarating as a ride in an expertly banked plane or sled or fast boat. "Drenched with life," Ackerman frees the exotic from the familiar, finds the familiar in the exotic, the large in the small, the personal in the vast. The second outstanding book from this shining poet, scholar, and prose stylist in less than a year (see A Natural History of the Senses [BKL My 1 90]) and a must for poetry collections of any size. ~--Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses , here offers new poems and reprises some from previous collections. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Here is the fifth book of poems from the author of the best-selling A Natural History of the Senses ( LJ 5/1/90) . Ackerman's lyrical voice and her feeling for detail and nuance are omnipresent in this work, assembled from prior books with ten new poems. An original, occasionally askew voice comes through in the new ones, especially where she presents herself as ``a bright fragile I am'' that ``hoists things out of their routine and lays them out to be fumbled and explored.'' Frequently, she speaks in a no-nonsense voice, as in her address to Sylvia Plath: ``You wanted life to derange you,/ to sample its real muscle,/ you wanted to be a word on the lips of the abyss.'' One of today's love-bards, Ackerman can denigrate when she has to, but she can be full of admiration, as in her poem-letter to Loren Eiseley: ``I feasted on the spellbinding fruit you grew--/ that way of beholding which is a form of prayer.'' These are poems also full of respect for the many dimensions of animal mysteries and the miracles of exotic landscapes from the Amazon to Antartica.-- Rosaly Demaios Roffman, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania, Ind. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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