Start reading I Praise My Destroyer: Poems on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

I Praise My Destroyer: Poems [Kindle Edition]

Diane Ackerman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.01 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $12.21  
Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Book Description

Diane Ackerman's poems reveal her intense response to the several worlds of nature, science, and society. Her lyricism fuses wit and sobriety, meditation and activism, and she confronts us with figures both real and fantastic.

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.

Organized into seven sections, including "Timed Talk," "By Atoms Moved," and "Tender Mercies," 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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 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, but 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 around a lake, a brilliant meditation on the cycle of time, life and death, and the perpetual turnings of the heart. Donna Seaman

From Kirkus Reviews

Long before she became well-known as a prose writer (A Natural History of the Senses, 1990, etc.), Ackerman had published volumes of verse that reflected her keen interest in science and the natural world. In this, her sixth collection, she clutters her work with unappealing displays of ego and a fascination with the mythology of herself that together distract from her otherwise splendid, more impersonal celebrations of ``natural wonders'' and ``tender mercies.'' After ``humbly'' proclaiming her roles as guardian, healer, messenger, and architect, Ackerman praises ``life's bright catastrophes,'' elegizing Carl Sagan in a poem that remembers the good old days, before the two of them were ``basking on the Riviera of fame.'' In a handful of poems, Ackerman mocks therapists ``timed talk'' and insensitivitycompared to herswhile reminding us elsewhere that she's ``a free spirit,'' a ``caresser of life,'' and a ``mischief hound.'' Despite some writing-school-style formal exercises (a pyrrhic, a ghasel, and some credible imitations of James Wright and Auden), Ackerman is at her best in artful poems that embody the sensuality of nature, luxuriating in a lyric vocabulary all her own. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 121 KB
  • Print Length: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ACGZ48
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,283 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Ackerman presents a book of poems that any mortal can relate to and be deeply moved by. The poems encourage us to accept our fate as human beings (death, ultimately) with grace and appreciation for the forces of nature, great and small, which move our lives and shape our world. Gorgeous, sensual poetry on themes of life woven with descriptions of natural and botanical elements. As one who does not believe in God and often feels distraught over having to accept the fact of my own mortality, it is comforting and consoling to read some of the poems which encourage us to humbly accept the mysterious beauty of our world and the powerful forces of nature which govern our existance and simply to enjoy the sensual lovliness of life while we can.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Messenger of Wonder January 3, 2002
By Eric
If you love great poetry, read this book. If you love nature, and suffer to see it destroyed, and want to learn to suffer without hating, read this book. Diane, you are truly a messenger of wonder.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the senses and the soul December 15, 2000
Here is gorgeous, thoughtful poetry, both lush and precise, engaging both heart and mind. I can't imagine anyone coming away from the riches of this slim volume unmoved. Whenever you fear that the world is too drab, too grey, too hopeless, dip into the quiet, deep beauty of these pages and be renewed.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?

More About the Author

Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly-acclaimed works of poetry and nonfiction, including the bestsellers "The Zookeeper's Wife" and "A Natural History of the Senses," and the Pulitzer Prize Finalist, "One Hundred Names for Love."

In her most recent book, "The Human Age: the World Shaped by Us," she confronts the unprecedented fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the whole planet. Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness." Ackerman takes us on an exciting journey to understand this bewildering new reality, introducing us to many of the inspiring people and ideas now creating, and perhaps saving, our future

A note from the author: "I find that writing each book becomes a mystery trip, one filled with mental (and sometimes physical) adventures. The world revealing itself, human nature revealing itself, is seductive and startling, and that's always been fascinating enough to send words down my spine. Please join me on my travels. I'd enjoy the company."

Contact me or follow my posts here:, @dianesackerman,

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category