Diane Ackerman Archive

Why the Language of Awesomeness Fails Us

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We trust the language of betrayal. If a teen writer wants to win a contest, let her turn not to the wonders of the world but to its horrors. Profundity is biased toward the grim, and injustice is not ageist.

Star Stuff: Poets on Space

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Science relies on metaphors. The work that metaphors do, after all, is to either make the familiar strange, or to make the strange familiar. Science is full of strangenesses, difficult for most of us to grasp unless we have something more quotidian to compare it to. Space, in particular,

On Colm Tóibín’s The Master and the Designed Self

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I recently fell in love with Colm Tóibín’s The Master, a novel about the life of “master” writer Henry James. Notable writers such as Michael Cunningham describe the novel, shortlisted in 2004 for the Man Booker, as “almost shockingly close to the mystery of art itself.”

The Tangible, The Visceral

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Touch is the sense common to all species. So wrote Aristotle in Historia Animalum and De Anima. And so is the premise for the art show Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E, which I’ve been helping out with here in Seattle, and which explores the sense

Literary Boroughs #4: Ithaca, NY

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. The series will run on our blog from May 2012 until AWP13 in Boston. Please enjoy the fourth