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Preview — Incarnadine by Mary Szybist
* A Finalist for 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.”
In Incarnadine, Mary ...more
The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation. -- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
Repose had aga ...more
I did not think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did, as her last collection, Granted, was a bit of a hit or miss for me. But this. Wow... just wow.
I find it difficult to articulate just WHY I adore this so much. There were a few in here that just completely and utterly punched me in the gut. Namely, "An Update on Mary" was so heartbreaking. Overall, this collection was so personal, so illuminating, so vulnerable and beautifully written and set up, picking from across all ...more
“There’s something profoundly inhuman about her. She is valued because she is a mother and because she is a virgin. And I am not either. So how do you make your way in the world as a woman when you are not aspiring to and cannot be valued for either of those and do not want to be valued for either of those?”
Szybist, who won a National Book Award last year for “Incarnadine,” w ...more
Quiet. The rhythm of these poems didn't take immediately. Szybist's subjects are different than what I would typically read and probably even contemporary poetry as a whole. Her point of focus would seem to be religion and at first glance is, with half of the collections titles starting with 'Annunciation' after the Annunciation, yet is never so obvious. Once the rhythm caught, around the second half of the book, I found myself going back to the first part to re-read those poems I took nothing a...more
Troubadours Etc.: Seemed to be about a road trip. Then about migrating birds. Then it feels like an unwanted end “the last of the sunlight is disappearing” and “try to come closer-/my wonderful and less than.”
Annunciation: Seems to be about grass from the perspective of the grass feeling the sun. “how many moments did it hover” and “even the shadows her chin made/never touched but reached just past”
Update on Mary ...more
But! This collection is named for a series of poems around the Annunciation, and "Conversion Figure" and "Annunciation in Play" I really liked. Th ...more
I was sitting in the carpet, reading it with great enjoyment. Sometimes, the words are so quiet in heart yet with strong clarity in mind and with assertive self-awareness, the thought is unstoppably fluent and deep, like deep ocean waves searching and entered my heart as if it knows where to harbor at.
The author catches the deep and common life of a woman's heart with such a sensitivity. The ...more
In one tender poem, Fender's Blue Butterfly intermingles with Kincaid's Lupine plants, portrays some elitist butterflies!
"As skull: Fissured, as unlit chandelier".
Som pretty good lines here, though the poems do not seem to hang together well.
"Just for this evening, won't you put me before you
until I'm far enough away you can
believe in me?" - The Troubadours Etc.
"From above, you looked small
as an afterthought, something lightly brushed in." - Conversion Figure
"This is what it's like to be alive without you he ...more
Religious under/overtones? Yes, although I'm not always certain if they are favorable or critical. The poet Mary plays with the idea of Mary in a myriad of ways, and the poems are emotional and musing. I enjoyed them even if I wasn't always sure I knew what was going on. There is also a lot of bird imagery, which makes me think of a certain Catholic I know.
The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made
into an object of affirmation and negation, when in
reality they should be an object of contemplation.
--Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
One poem is written from the perspective of the grass on which Mary kneels, another, "It is Pretty to Think ...more
But the concept that God and His host of angels would and are incarnate on earth and at that place is where art, poetry and Annunciation co-exist is simply inspired and inspirational.
Missed being a "5-star" only because some of the poems were way too far out there for me.
In this little experiment I have been doing over the last week -- that being reading ...more
I'm reading this again fr ...more
These poems are trying too hard to be poems. The fact that they've been published in so many places makes me worry for the state of c ...more