Cover art by JoAnn Clayton Townsend. 
Book design by Janice Olson

  The Habit of Fire
Poems Selected & New

by Judith McCombs
PO Box 42164
Washington, DC 20015

(c) 2005 Judith McCombs
104 pages

0-915380-57-9 (paperback)

Price $10 + $3.50 shipping

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Reviews --

Judith McCombs’s poetry grips the world in which rivers flow to ocean and life flows to death, in which mountains are indifferent to us, and wars natural and unnatural occur, a world where ice becomes mud becomes life, with a ferocious quietness, a gratitude beyond bitterness, a beauty and vulnerability of language to match those of the world.
Alicia Ostriker, author of Stealing the Language, Volcano Sequence

This poet ranges through childhood memories, war, love, and nature, with amazing clarity and a pristine music. McCombs is a rare pragmatist about nature, exposing Romantic and Edenic fallacies, showing us that we are small figures on planet Earth, and that our lovings are best when intensified by an unblinking realism. Her metaphor for transcendental insight is the striking of a match in the dark, a paradoxical act, since her brief flame also stops her from seeing what might surround her in the dark primeval forest.
Robert Peters, author of Hunting the Snark

In her wilderness poems, Judith McCombs scolds the real or imaginary backpacker “strapped to romantic notions of nature,” disappointed by the glacier that “resembles...not snow/ but rather, soiled underwear,” and admonishes the camper, “Look, we are mammals tramping the surface./ The warmth we have is small and not lasting.” Her voice is steady and clear, lyrical, grieving, but not polemical. She brings compassion to her subjects, whether animal or human, and she reminds us how fragile is the earth we despoil and take for granted. This book deserves a wide readership.
Maxine Kumin, author of Selected Poems




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