In I Praise My Destroyer, Diane Ackerman combines her deep understanding of the world with her immense passion for language to craft richly sensual poems that "honor all life/whenever and in whatever form/it may dwell."

Imbued with ravishing imagery, these exuberant and lyrical explorations of love, aging, nature, human nature, and death demonstrate Ackerman's full engagement with every aspect of life's process. 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. 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. 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."  Poetry Magazine


“In her first book of poems since the splendid Jaguar of Sweet Laughter (1991), naturalist Ackerman expresses her signature love for the world in all its seething glory, but there is a new strength here,  an edge freshly honed.  Yet her sensuality is still in full force as she writes voluptuously about apricots, water, and sky, and wears poetic forms like silk dresses that sway and cling in perfect accord to the stride of her lines. Her metaphors are piquant and her humor mischievous, and still there is an intimation of struggle, and that infuses these wholly original poems with an air of valor,  vitality, and wisdom.  She writes— with wit, warmth, and gratitude — about the “timed talk” of therapy, the fire and darkness of love,  and strikingly,  of friendships between women. If one poem had to stand for her ardent awareness, poetic adeptness, erudition, profound insights into nature, and all-embracing spirit, it would be “When the Deep Purple Falls,”  a thousand-word sentence about a day-long bicycle ride circumnavigating a lake, a brilliant meditation on the cycle of time,  life and death, and the perpetual turnings of the heart.” — Booklist


“Vivid,  playful,  abundant, these poems constitute a directory of colors, an assembly of weathers, waters, creatures, and a bold, brash, invincible vote of confidence.” — Anthony Hecht


“In I Praise My Destroyer, Diane Ackerman demonstrates once again her love for the specific language that rises from the juncture of self and natural world, and her skillful use of that language. Whether she turns her attention to the act of eating an apricot ‘the color of shame and dawn,’ or to ‘the omnipotence of light,’ or to grief when ‘All the greens of summer have blown apart,’ her linking of unique images, her energetic wit and whimsy, her compassionate investment in life, always bring new pleasures and perceptions to the reader.”  Pattiann Rogers


“Diane Ackerman’s I Praise My Destroyer is both moving and witty — a rare combination.  Her poems express a sense of sheer joy in physical existence, which she explores in language that has its own intense life. The book is a pure pleasure.” — Louis Simpson

“Diane Ackerman’s title,  with its echo of Dylan Thomas and its reminder of Shakespeare’s great line ‘Consumed with that which it was nourished by,’ reflects the zestful commitment to life which informs her new poems. They are full of physical participation in the world, human involvement, and (as one might expect of this scholar of the senses) an eloquent eye which can see ‘the huge sky/thunder pockets/full of bright change.” —  Richard Wilbur


“Whether facing mortality on her own horizon or in the deaths of friends, musing on her work or such quotidian activities as a bicycle ride or working out in a gym, Ackerman employs unfettered, richly sensuous lines.”  Publishers Weekly


“In the ravishing metaphors and images of her most recent volume, Ackerman finds inside herself the ability to praise all of nature, not just the part that sustains us but also the part that takes life away and gives it meaning by ending it.”  Columbus Alive 


“She makes the task of putting words to the wordless seem effortless.” — Manchester Journal


“Ackerman employs her best poetic talents and renders beautifully-wrought images... a luminous celebration of the earthly world and a wrenched acknowledgment that death is indeed folded into life.”  Lincoln Journal Star


“Ackerman again offers her readers beautifully embellished moments in her latest among five collections of poems. All of the poems reflect intelligence, awareness, and the skillful employment of rhyme, meter, alliteration, and other poetic techniques. The book would be especially useful to those interested in bridging the gap between science and art.” —  Library Journal