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Incarnadine: Poems by Mary Szybist

Incarnadine: Poems (edition 2013)

by Mary Szybist (Author)

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1116166,257 (4.5)12
Title:Incarnadine: Poems
Authors:Mary Szybist (Author)
Info:Graywolf Press (2013), Edition: 1ST, 72 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Incarnadine: Poems by Mary Szybist



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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Welp, this was a set of poems that hit me right in my past as a medievalist who worked on Middle English mystics as well as someone who loves gorgeous language and experiments in form. I especially loved "Conversion Figure", "Hail", and "Update on Mary" though I think my favorite lines are in "Invitation" - "Angels of prostitution and rain/you of sheerness and sorrow/you who take nothing/breathe into me". I can think of at least one person I know who is also a poet who should read this immediately if she hasn't. ( )
  jeninmotion | Sep 24, 2018 |
Mary Szybist's second collection reaches for heaven through an imagining of the experience of Mary at Annunciation, and sometimes touches it with such lovely and simple language as:

"Time to enter yourself. Time to make your own sorrow. Time to unbrighten and discard even your slenderness."

"...having bathed carefully in the syllables of your name,"

"Now what seas, what meanings can I place in you?"

There are times when the simplicity becomes merely prosaic and the collection is a bit uneven. Still and all, a worthy effort. ( )
  dasam | Jul 25, 2017 |
Szybist presents an accessible collection of thirty-four cleverly constructed poems. Many of the poems are reflections on the Christian story of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary that she is to bear the messiah, but the reflections are not always conventionally religious, many are sensual, a few carnal, two borrow quotes by public figures from public documents and build her text around them, and one redacts the gospel text to emphasize the awesome fear of the encounter. There is also a poem presented as a diagrammed sentence and one as a circular series of radiating lines as it appears on a ceiling mural in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. ( )
  MaowangVater | Jul 3, 2015 |
These 72 pages are a game changer. I will not be able to look at poetry in the same way again.
Ms Szybist approaches the Annunication from all sorts of different perspectives and transforms it in ways that illuminate my life and may illluminate the life of any woman, one at a time, in childhood, pregnancy, motherhood, no motherhood... We experience it fro the grass beneath us and the birds in the air near us, in famous paintings, and jig saw puzzles, and transgressing into unwante, foced encounters.
Thank you, Mary, for writing such a beautiful collection of poems. I will treasure Incarnadine for a long time, returning to it when I need an injection of beauty and truth. ( )
  katherinefd | Mar 9, 2014 |
he poems in Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine* consider the collision of the ordinary and the otherworldly (as figured in the Annunciation) from a multitude of angles. With their varied forms and fierce fragility, the poems gracefully explore the relationship between the spirit and the body, motherhood and childlessness, discovery and loss, violence and desire, the sacred and the secular.


What surprised me most about the collection was the striking range of forms that Ms. Szybist employs. Incarnadine includes a poem in terza rima, a concrete poem (lines densely radiating from a circular negative space, appearing like a sun), prose poems, a poem composed with pieces snipped from Natalie Angier’s Woman: An Intimate Geography and Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, a poem as a diagrammed sentence, an abecedarian, near-sonnets, hymn-like structures — all in seventy-two pages.

This formal variety enhances the collection’s fresh approach to the subject of the Annunciation; the scene is replayed in new contexts many times over. For example, in “Annunciation in Nabokov and Starr,” excerpts from Lolita and The Starr Report fill out an annunciation account from the angel’s point of view, while later, in “Annunciation: Eve to Ave,” Eve explains her bewilderment at the discovery that the man who brought her news was not a man at all. After this poem’s especially playful diction, the last lines rise to the surface in all their parenthetical heaviness: “(But I was quiet, quiet as / eagerness–that astonished, dutiful fall.).”

As the book goes on, and the annunciations stack up, they become more and more ensnared in violation, which, it appears, is the underside of this particular adumbration; spirit does not instantiate in flesh without violence.

Ms. Szybist’s verse is elegant, sometimes deceptively simple, and poised, balancing darkness and transcendence, incarnadine and cerulean. Highly recommended reading.

Incarnadine won the National Book Award for poetry in 2013

*My thanks to Graywolf Press for sending me a review copy of Incarnadine. ( )
  Oh_Carolyn | Feb 19, 2014 |
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Mary Szybist restlessly seeks out places where meaning might take on new color. One poem is presented as a diagrammed sentence. Another is an abecedarium made of lines of dialogue spoken by girls overheard while assembling a puzzle. Several poems arrive as a series of Annunciations, while others purport to give an update on Mary, who must finish the dishes before she will open herself to God. One poem appears on the page as spokes radiating from a wheel, or as a sunburst, or as the cycle around which all times and all tenses are alive in this moment. Szybist's formal innovations are matched by her musical lines, by her poetry's insistence on singing as a lure toward the unknowable. Inside these poems is a deep yearning -- for love, motherhood, the will to see things as they are and to speak.

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