November 21, 2013

Congratulations, Mary Szybist!

Associate professor of English wins the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry for her latest collection, Incarnadine.
  • Photo credit: Robin Platzer, Twin Images

Mary Szybist, associate professor of English, is the winner of the 2013 National Book Award in poetry for her latest collection, Incarnadine. The National Book Awards are given annually to American authors and are considered the most prestigious award in American letters along with the Pulitzer Prize.

Incarnadine explores religious iconography and was inspired by time spent in the art museums of Italy. In reviewing the book for NPR, poet Craig Morgan Teicher said, “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.”

Her first collection of poetry, Granted, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry in 2004.

Sharing her craft with students

Mary has taught at Lewis & Clark since 2004. A finalist for Teacher of the Year in 2008, she shares her passion for poetry with students and colleagues alike, inspiring appreciation for the arts in the Lewis & Clark community and beyond. Students interested in poetry have the amazing opportunity to study directly with Mary in a small, collaborative classroom environment. This semester Mary is teaching two classes, as well as co-teaching, with Assistant Professor of English Pauls Toutonghi, a course producing the Lewis & Clark Review.

  • “She is incredibly devoted to her students and manages to be both encouraging enough that you believe in yourself and challenging enough that you learn to challenge yourself.” – Claire Askew BA ’13

  • “She is an exceptionally devoted teacher and colleague. To give so much time and attention to one’s students’ poems would seem to leave no time for one’s own writing, but clearly Mary has managed not only to do both parts of the job but to excel at them both.” – Associate Professor of English Will Pritchard

Writing at Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark has a rich history in poetry. Mary’s award comes 50 years after William Stafford, who also taught at the college, won the same honor for Traveling Through the Dark. And, in 2005, Professor Emeritus Vern Rutsala was a finalist for his collection The Moment’s Equation

Media coverage

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Please join us on Monday, December 2, at 4:30 p.m. in Stamm Dining Room, Templeton Student Center, to celebrate Mary and her remarkable achievement.

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