Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mary Szybist Wins National Book Award for Poetry

Szybist's winning "Incardine" depicts the Annunciation in many forms.

Mary Szybist has won the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. In a ceremony last night in New York City, Szybist beat out a stellar group of finalists to claim the National Book Award for her brilliantly inventive volume of poetry — Incardine. Nikky Finney who won in 2011, led a panel of five judges and presented Szybist with her award.

The Associate Professor of English at Oregon's Lewis & Clark College offers intimate spaces and stagings for experiences that are exploratory and sometimes explosive in her winning second volume of poetry, Incardine.

In its nomination write up for Ms. Szybist, the National Book Foundation states that, "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."

This is the first National Book Award for Mary Szybist. Her previous collection of poems Granted from 2003 was honored as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Earlier in the evening esteemed poet, Dr. Maya Angelou was presented with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. The Literarian Award recognizes an individual whose work has enhanced the literary world during a lifetime of service. Dr. Angelou joins Lawrence Ferlinghetti as the only two poets to win the award.

The shortlist for the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry were: Frank Bidart; Lucie Brock-Broido; Adrian Matejka and; Matt Rasmussen.

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