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College of Arts & Sciences
The Open Book

Mary Szybist


When asked which poet she would like to introduce to The Open Book, Nikky Finney selected Mary Szybist, whose collection Incarnadine was awarded the 2013 National Book Award. Szybist received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the author of one previous book, Granted, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Syzbist’s individual poems have been widely published, and her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Great Lakes Colleges Association, the MacDowell Colony, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. The National Book Awards judges’ citation describes Incarnadine this way: “In her gorgeous second collection, Mary Szybist blends traditional and experimental aesthetics to recast the myth of the Biblical Mary for this era. In vulnerable lyrics, surprising concrete poems, and other forms, and with extraordinary sympathy and a light touch of humor, Szybist probes the nuances of love, loss, and the struggle for religious faith in a world that seems to argue against it. This is a religious book for nonbelievers, or a book of necessary doubts for the faithful.”

Mary Szybist spoke at The Open Book on March 25, 2015
Mary Szybist