The University of Iowa

Mary Szybist Wins National Book Award for Incarnadine

Mary Szybist, a graduate of  the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, received the 2013 National Book Award for poetry for her most recent collection, Incarnadine.

Szybist accepted the award during a ceremony Nov. 20 in Manhattan, N.Y. Watch video here.

In its citation for the book, the National Book Award organization said, "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."

Szybist earned degrees from the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her first collection of poetry, Granted, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2009, she won a Witter Bynner Fellowship. According to judge Kay Ryan, Syzbist'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."

When Szybist was in Iowa City this fall, she was interviewed as part of the City of Literature's "Writers on the Fly" project. Watch the video here.