Portland-based poet Mary Szybist has won the National Book Award for poetry for her latest collection, Incarnadine.
Szybist, who teaches English at Lewis & Clark College, accepted the award tonight in Manhattan.
Poetry "is what some describe as soul-making; I count myself among them," she said during her acceptance speech. "Speaking differently is what I aspire to."
WW reviewed Incarnadine this past February, praising its construction and intimacy:
Even for avid readers of all genres, poetry can sometimes feel a bit…unapproachable. But the poems of Portland-based writer Mary Szybist read more like a letter from an old friend, familiar and inviting. They float by like a snippet of overheard conversation. Words both lovely and sad flow from line to line in an experience akin to following the lines of force within a painting.Her first book, Granted (2003), had previously been a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award.
I had the happy idea that somewhere a child was being born who was nothing like Helen or Jesus except in the sense of changing everything.
I had the happy idea that someday I would find both pleasure and punishment, that I would know them and feel them,and that, until I did, it would be almost as good to pretend.I had the happy idea to call myself happy.