Mary Szybist


Mary Szybist is most recently the author of Incarnadine, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. She the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center.   Her work has appeared in such publications as Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, and two Pushcart Prize anthologies.  Her first book , Granted, won the 2004 GLCA New Writers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, she now lives in Portland, Oregon where she teaches at Lewis & Clark College.


National Book Award Finalist Reading – 2013

Read Two Interviews with Szybist:
National Book Foundation
The Paris Review


So-and-So Descending from the Bridge
It is so and so and not the dusty world
p_szybist_incarnadinewho drops.
It is their mother and not the dusty world
who drops them.
Why I imagine her so often
as houseboats’ distant lights
rise and fall on the far ripples—
I do not know.
I know that darkness.
Have stood on that bridge
in the space between the streetlights
dizzy with looking down.
Maybe some darks are deep enough to swallow
what we want them to.
But you can’t have two worlds in your hands
and choose emptiness.
I think that she will never sleep as I sleep,
I who have no so and so to throw
or mourn or to let go.
But in that once— with no more
mine, mine, this little so, and that one—
she is what
out-nights me.
So close. So-called
crazy little mother who does not jump.


“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.”—Kay Ryan


View more poems from Incarnadine at Graywolf Press


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