Monday, December 1, 2014

Mary Szybist

Mary Szybist is the author of two poetry collections, Granted (2003) and Incarnadine (2013), which won the National Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review.

Her recent book gives many and varying images of the angel Gabriel addressing the virgin Mary.The poet has said: "The scene to which Incarnadine continually returns—the Annunciation—has long been a site of ‘fine invention,’ especially in the hands of artists like Simone Martini and Sandro Botticelli; it portrays a human encountering something not human...That is part of what I find most moving about the scene: how it plays out the faith, the belief that that can happen—and can change us."

Although she says the idea for Incarnadine came while spending time in the art galleries of Italy, she has also said, "I grew up attending Annunciation Church. It is an especially pretty church, as it was built in the mid-19th century in central Pennsylvania when the lumber industry was booming. I spent many hours looking up at the Annunciation scene. I may not have had regular access to great museums growing up, but each week I did sit and look up at real Tiffany windows of religious icons that changed, continually, with the light..."

Mary Szybist now teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Insertion of Meadow with Flowers

In 1371, beneath the angel’s feet,

Veneziano added a meadow—
a green expanse with white
and yellow broom flowers, the kind
that—until the sun warms them—
have no scent—

God could have chosen other means than flesh.

Imagine he did
and the girl on her knees in this meadow,
open, expectant, dreamily rocking,
and the girl’s mouth open, quiet,—

is only important because we recognize

the wish. For look, the flowers
do not spin, not even

the threads of their shadows—
and they are infused
with what they did not
reach for.

Out of nothing does not mean

into nothing.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.