Writer of Many GiftsGAMBIER, Ohio (January 23, 2004) Poet and Visiting Assistant Professor of English Mary Szybist is a writer of many gifts. The poet Robert Hass has said that Szybist possesses "a gift for music, a gift for aphorism, a gift for being haunted." These gifts are evident throughout Granted, her recent poetry collection, which has been named a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award.
The nomination of Szybist's book, which also won the 2002 Beatrice Hawley Award, was recently announced in the New York Times. Poets Carolyn Forche, Tony Hoagland, Venus Khoury-Ghata, and Susan Stewart were also nominated for the award. The winner will be announced at the circle's twentieth annual award ceremony in Manhattan on March 4, 2004.
"We're thrilled about her nomination because it recognizes a young poet of great talent at an important moment in her career," says Professor of English and chair of the College's English department Sergei Lobanov-Rostovsky.
Filled with natural, biblical, and classical imagery, Szybist's poetry explores the difficulties posed by faith and love. "The power of Mary's poetry," says Lobanov-Rostovsky, "lies in the luminous quality of her imagery, which sets this haunting world before our eyes, but also in the delicacy of tone that allows her to draw back, to speak quietly about her own acts of perception."
A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Szybist holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work, which has been published in such journals as the Denver Quarterly and the Colorado Review, has been honored with awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. Before coming to Kenyon, Szybist taught at the University of Iowa, the Tennessee Governor's School for Humanities, West High School in Iowa City, and the University of Virginia's Young Writers' Workshop.
One of the nation's leading liberal arts and sciences colleges and home to the Kenyon Review, Kenyon College offers 1,594 students a challenging educational experience enriched by a culture of friendship. Graduates of the College have included actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and author E. L. Doctorow.