Mary Szybist grew up in Pennsylvania and holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her debut collection, Granted (Alice James Books), won the 2002 Beatrice Hawley Award and the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, was a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and was listed among the "Best Poetry Books of 2003" by Library Journal.
She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writing Award, and her poems have appeared in The Denver Quarterly, The Colorado Review, and other journals. She lives and teaches in Oregon.
But love requires performance:
When the soldiers raised up Jesus
to leave him perched, exposed,
he could have finished with the calm
what they do, I do. Love could have remained
the arranged thing, the pronouncement.
Why the sudden anguish (where I rush to him),
the swelling in music?
from "Again, the Body as Temple"
“...with her intelligence and understated grace, Szybist may become one of the best-known writers of her generation. In Granted, she explores a timeless themespiritual and romantic longing. In page after page, she wrestles with faith and hope, struggling to find peace by finding freedom from desire. In the process, she lures readers into a hidden place somewhere between intellect and silence.”
The Christian Science Monitor
“…Mary Szybist’s most gorgeous stylistic accomplishment may be her quietest, the enactment of an unaffected aesthetic of modesty.”
American Book Review
“…It is these small passages, these arrivals, which detail the inaccurate promises and chosen solitudes that give Granted its often unsettling brilliance.”
New Orleans Review
Selections from Granted
(Alice James Books)
What the World Is For
Again, the Body as Temple
In the Glare of the Garden
The Technique of the Lifelike
In Tennessee I Found a Firefly