Katharine Whitcomb - Portrait

Katharine Whitcomb

Katharine Whitcomb is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, including Habitats, published by Poetry Northwest Editions in January 2024, and two chapbooks. She has been awarded many fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, MacDowell, FAWC, and others. She has had work published in many journals and anthologies, including Making Poems and Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She teaches at Central Washington University and divides her time between Washington State and Vermont.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

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.

Sleepless Ode

o lost person
do you remember

reading a book in gray-green spring light
yr back flat on the cab window of a borrowed pick-up
eleven p.m. yr knees propping yr elbows
& how we always headed north
to Ontario to nearly vacant provincial
parks for aimless slow-houred weekends
& how a moose dripping w/ lake weed
dozing on his feet in the middle of the camp road
didn’t care about us (awestruck us)
I think of you now in spring
again & I just want to sit outside
in an old wild empty place
wrapped in yr coat—as poor
as we were poor then but there
w/ everything growing together awake
& away from death all the livelong night

2011 Writers Program

Sound Clips
  • Katharine Whitcomb - Portrait
    Shades of Sensibility – Katharine Whitcomb