“Incardnadine,” by Mary Szybist


That's how I would describe this book.

“Oh Dear God What Wouldn't I Do To Have Published This” is another feel I have here. Also, “I will never write like this but I can almost accept that painful truth given how grateful I am that this exists in the world.”

Let's see. How else can I talk about this poetry?

I don't think I can. Luckily, several of my favorite poems from this book are available on-line.

Touch Gallery: Joan of Arc The careful selection of detail is remarkable, and more remarkable are her well-placed similes, like bombs of meaning (sorry). Also, how she evokes a mood with a moment (something I want in any poet, but few succeed so well.) 

On Wanting To Tell [ ] About A Girl Eating Fish Eyes Apparently Szybist knows how to add 2+2 and get 5, a talent I am deeply impressed by. Here she takes a strange moment and makes it about death and life. Like a boss. Also, she shows quite the talent for the Last Line.

How (Not) To Speak Of God There is a creative play with space that would be trite and gimmicky in another poet but is so expertly handled here that it works amazingly well, actually adding to the meaning of the poem, and in fact, adding in a theologically interesting way, instead of being pretentious and intensely dislikable. I might have to print that poem out and hang it up somewhere. And did I mention her imagery? Her imagery.

I haven't fallen so hard in love with a poet since . . . I don't even know since. I have become incoherent with pleasure. I will stop babbling. Just go read her. And then, ideally, buy her books.

The fact that she won the NBA for this book reassures me re: the inherent good taste of humanity. Sometimes I feel that the poetry world is just an enormous echo-chamber and mutual back-patting society, where reward is meted out less for talent and more for writing what everyone else is writing . . . and then work like this comes along and proves otherwise.

Read this book.