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Poetry professor wins NEA grant for creative writing

December 08, 2008

Mary Szybist, assistant professor of English, received a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in creative writing this month. The highly competitive fellowships of $25,000 each are given to published creative writers of exceptional talent, encouraging the production of new work and allowing writers the time and means to write. One of the foremost awards in the literary field, the NEA grant will support Szybist’s work on her second book of poems, tentatively titled Incarnadine.

“A grant like this is a boost of adrenaline to the writing process,” said Szybist. “As I’ve worked on my current manuscript for the last few years, I have cycled through periods of faith and doubt, both about the poems and the project as a whole. To have the NEA select my work for this distinction is a great gift of validation, and I am eager to return to my manuscript with a renewed sense of vigor and excitement.”

Szybist’s poetry has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Tin House, and Best American Poetry 2008. Her first book, Granted, was named one of the top ten books of poetry in 2003 by Library Journal. Also that year, Szybist was a finalist for the National Book Circle Critic’s Award in Poetry.

Listen to Szybist read her work at the Poetry website.