Mary Szybist grew up in Pennsylvania. She earned degrees from the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her first collection of poetry, Granted (2003), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Associations New Writers Award. Her second book, Incarnadine (2013), won the National Book Award for Poetry. According to judge Kay Ryan, Syzbist’s “lovely musical touch is light and exact enough to catch the weight and grind of love. This is a hard paradox to master as she does.”
Szybist is also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Pushcart Prize in 2012. She has been awarded residencies from the MacDowell Colony and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center. Her work has appeared in the Iowa Review and Denver Quarterly and was featured in Best American Poetry (2008). In 2009, she was awarded a Witter Bynner Fellowship and a literature fellowship from the NEA. She is an associate professor of English at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon, and is a member of the faculty at the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.