Mary Szybist is the author of a previous poetry collection, Granted, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writing Award, and a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, she lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches at Lewis & Clark College and the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. (Author photo by Joni Kabana)
Mary Szybist's richly imagined encounters offer intimate spaces and stagings for experiences that are exploratory and sometimes explosive. Through the lens of an iconic moment, the Annunciation of an unsettling angel to a bodily young woman, Szybist describes the confusion and even terror of moments in which our longing for the spiritual may also be a longing for what is most fundamentally alien to us. In a world where we are so often asked to choose sides, to believe or not believe, to embrace or reject, Incarnadine offers lyrical and brilliantly inventive alternatives.
"What is it about humanity that makes us so perpetually long for the numinous? What might it mean for the numinous to long to be born among us, incarnate and incarnadine? In this freshest of revisitations, Mary Szybist contemplates the meeting place—call it the Annunciation—and re-embodies it as poetry."
"Mary Szybist's lovely musical touch is light and exact enough to catch the weight and grind of love. This is a hard paradox to master as she does."
"Mary Szybist again offers a marvelous merging of the life of the senses with what is capable of announcing it. These new poems try to find their way around and into spaces and situations more enticing than the satisfactions of sensuous presence. At one pole there is an effort to imagine the nothing out of which presence comes; at another there is a fascination with the nothing within, the sense of successful self-surrender 'beyond recompense,' as if there were a position where the self's reality depended on soliciting imagination rather than desire. Szybist's poetry has such patience and such clarity and such restraint crossed with her own mode of formal excess that, while reading her work, I feel at times that I am witnessing a rebirth of the lyric."