Winner of the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry
- Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry
knew how to burn themselves through,
how to make themselves shrines to their own longing.
The spectacular was never behind them.
—from “The Troubadours Etc.”
Mary Szybist’s richly imagined encounters—involving endangered butterflies, hungry birds, sexual predators, demented presidents—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.
“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
- “Gorgeous. . . . [The] intersection of human and divine colors every page. . . . When Szybist sees angels, they are everywhere—in alchemy, barrenness and earthquakes.”—The Washington Post
- “Szybist is a humble and compassionate observer of the complicated glory of the world and humanity’s ambivalent role in it, as inheritors and interlopers.”—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR
- “In her gorgeous second collection, Mary Szybist blends traditional and experimental aesthetics to recast the myth of the Biblical Mary for this era.”—National Book Awards Judges’ Citation
- “Not since Adrienne Rich’s early work has a collection thought so deeply about the permeable barrier between the spirit and the body, and motherhood. . . . Extraordinary.”—The Boston Globe