Other literary forms
While Diane Ackerman is known for her poetry, she is better known for her nonfiction work, which includes memoirs and narratives about scientific subjects. Ackerman’s early prose work focuses on her personal experiences learning different and unusual occupations. Twilight of the Tenderfoot (1980) recounts her time as a cowhand on a cattle ranch, while On Extended Wings (1985) focuses on her student pilot experiences. Perhaps her most famous work, A Natural History of the Senses (1990), was later adapted into a NOVA miniseries for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The Moon by Whale Light, and Other Adventures Among Bats, Penguins, Crocodilians, and Whales (1991) contains four essays originally published in The New Yorker. Ackerman followed up on these two works with, respectively, A Natural History of Love (1994) and The Rarest of the Rare: Vanishing Animals, Timeless Worlds (1995). Her essays, which usually focus on science and nature, have been published in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Parade, and National Geographic. She edited The Book of Love with Jeanne Mackin. A Slender Thread: Rediscovering Hope and the Heart of a Crisis (1997) returned her to writing memoirs, as she recounted her experiences as a crisis hotline counselor. Deep Play (1999) suggests ways in which adults can recapture their childhood through play, while Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden (2001) discusses maintenance of her garden. In The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story (2007), Ackerman tells the story of a Polish zoo during World War II. In Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day (2009), Ackerman discusses different facets of nature and dawn throughout the changing of the seasons.