Habitats by Katharine Whitcomb


Katharine Whitcomb

Possession Sound Poetry Series
Volume 3

January 2024
92 pp.

Habitats, Katharine Whitcomb’s robust new collection, is her best yet—a field guide to the pleasures and perils of adulthood, a reckoning with what is and what will never be. Moving through disappointment and joy, divorce and remarriage, the death of parents and a stare down with her own allotted time on Earth, Whitcomb seeks out or stumbles into rooms of reflection, landscapes that enlarge us, gardens and clearings where “lean and stubborn devotions” take root. These lush and rugged poems are alive to the “tug of memory / awake in everything,” those habitats of geography and mind that clarify and define what is most important—belonging to ourselves. “Not young or uncomplicated or down-to-earth,” Whitcomb is both realist and dreamer, uncovering the “mercy in each minute of the sense’s deft erasure.” Niche by niche, line by line, she “persists in loving the world,” finding wherever she looks a certain hard-won grace, not wanting to be “anyone or anywhere else.” Habitats is many worlds at once—a marvelous journey into the powers of ordinary witness and a testament of the courage to change.

Praise for Habitats

Through these lyrically precise, formally adept poems, Katharine Whitcomb journeys and earns a singular vision, where a cypher becomes a threshold to discovery, and any truly lived moment uncovers an unforgettable world.
Arthur Sze
In Habitats, Katharine Whitcomb gives voice to a human consciousness that feels the world with profound intensity, and then transforms that feeling into rigorous, heightened language. . . . A moving, memorable, important book from a poet at the height of her powers.
Mark Wunderlich
Habitats is a brave and perceptive book, walking the reader through the personal that is also collective. . . . A book of rooms—poems—as big as all life.
Jesse Lee Kercheval

About the Author

Katharine Whitcomb is the author of Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, which won the Bluestem Award, chosen by Lucia Perillo, and The Daughter’s Almanac, which won the Backwaters Prize, chosen by Patricia Smith. Her chapbook, Lamp of Letters, won the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and is the recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, MacDowell, Yaddo, and elsewhere. She teaches at Central Washington University and divides her time between Washington State and Vermont. More information about the author and her work can be found at www.katharinewhitcomb.com.