My Skies of Small Horses

Cati Porter’s My Skies of Small Horses revels in a domestic space that twists and morphs until a dystopic world is revealed.  The speaker persists through various trials with a feral power that wreaks havoc on the ordinary.  With language that is both daring and dazzling, she lets her survivalist mode kick in and lays claim to this  tumultuous realm where,  “beneath the table, beneath the chairs,/small horses take shelter:// I cross the field./I clap my hands./I want to see them run.”  A brilliant and vital collection!   

    -- Molly Bendall, author of Under the Quick and Ariadne’s Island

Cati Porter knows that the domestic sphere is a space full of knives, that a human is a zoo animal, and that a lover is someone who holds your hair while you vomit. With plenty o' nods to Plath and looking-glass Alice, the language in My Skies of Small Horses is like a steep spiral staircase with a velvet bannister, tricky and lush and twisting. It's a poetry of the "haunted, the unhung and moonsung, the run and the con."

    -- Arielle Greenberg, author of Slice and My Kafka Century
    and co-editor of Gurlesque: the new grrly, burlesque, grotesque poetics

"Warning!" in No Tell Motel

"Not Knowing Where This May Lead, Blue Horse Lets Them In" in Truck

Three poems in Wicked Alice

Cover image: "Self Portrait Running Amok" by Julie Heffernan, used by permission.



The Body, Like Bread

Cati Porter’s The Body, Like Bread is a marriage of Epicureanism and Eroticism, a dance between renunciation and desire. One of her poems boldly proclaims, “Every Poem Is Not a Love Poem,” but that isn’t true of this collection. Every single poem in this collection explores desire, “the web-nest at the stem, the marble of it, glistening.”

--Shaindel Beers, author of A Brief History of Time and The Children’s War and Other Poems

These are aching poems, mouth-watering poems, thrumming with every hunger the body can hold. These poems hold the meat and fruit and bread you would find in a fever dream—sensual and satisfying and strange. With The Body, Like Bread, Cati Porter has delivered a breathtaking feast.

--Gayle Brandeis, author of Delta Girls, Self Storage, The Book of Dead Birds, and Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write

Read sample poems in Contrary.

"Reciprocity" in The Quotable Lit

Cover image: "Needs" by Lavina Blossom.



what Desire makes of us

This series of poems that comprises what Desire makes of us was conceived of during April of 2009 in celebration of National Poetry Month (NaPoWriMo) in response to poem-a-day prompts provided by Robert Brewer on his Writers Digest/Poetic Asides Blog. An anthropomorphic personification of one of life’s basest instincts, Desire haunts our narrator, culminating in a surrealistic exploration of what it could mean to be literally consumed by Desire. Orignially published by Ahadada Books as a free illustrated e-chapbook, an updated print version is now available from dancing girl press.

Read/view a sample on The Nervous Breakdown.

Cover & interior illustrations by Amy Payne.





Seven Floors Up

Through E-Bay ads for an inflatable church, labels stuck to her preschool son's jeans, instructions for preconception gender selection, and childhood games, Porter names herself into the world with lyrical irony in poem after hilariously tragic poem. - Tony Barnstone

In Seven Floors Up you will find a complicated and gifted poet, Cati Porter, whose art is filled not only with heart and mind--but also with the body in its varied and rich incarnations. - Deborah Bogen

Seven Floors Up is a book that mirrors real life, in all of its messiness, chaos and brief moments of serendipity. - Jessica Fox-Wilson, ReadWritePoem

Like bees extracting pollen, Cati Porter has found the rich and mysterious nourishment of the things in front of us, the poetry in plain view. - Beth Ann Fennelly

Seven Floors Up is a memorable collection of impressive poems that evoke day-to-day life and women’s manifold experiences. - Dorsia Smith Silva, Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering

Cover image "Self-Portrait as Big House" by Julie Heffernan, used by permission.

Read selections from Seven Floors Up in Umbrella

Read a review in the Journal for the Association of Mothering and Motherhood. (PDF download)

Read a review by Jessica Fox Wilson in ReadWritePoem.





The Way Things Move The Dark

About "Miss Carriage", a poem included in this collection, and winner of So To Speak's 2010 poetry contest: "In the vein of poetry by the amazing Heather McHugh, the driving force of "Miss Carriage" is American language itself: its endless opportunities for riffing, its image-rich idioms, its fantastically eclectic sounds. But like McHugh's poems, the language play of "Miss Carriage" is not merely playful; it is pinned to something very real, very directly human. In this case, that something is the experience of pregnancy loss, which is a subject worthy of more literary exploration than it gets in our culture, and which is handled here with complexity, dry humor, grace, and finally, deep sorrow." - Arielle Greenberg, contest judge


Cover illustration by Amy Payne.

Read selections from The Way Things Move The Dark in Wicked Alice & No Tell Motel


(al)most delicious

  "(al)most delicious is like the thoughts of a figure in a painting. But more than that it is a kaleidoscopic meditation on the theme of artist and model. Or like a room of mirrors in which looking and being seen are erotic, and creator, creation and observer are locked in a love triangle of reflection and illusion. Enter, listen to the voices and the music, you will be rewarded."

-Richard Garcia

Read selections from (al)most delicious in Umbrella

Cover illustration by Amy Payne.





Out of print.

small fruit songs

"Like bees extracting pollen, Cati Porter has found the rich and mysterious nourishment of the things in front of us, the poetry in plain view.  In deceptively simple language, she startles us into insights. We're presented with a delightfully off-kilter world where a woman weds a tree while "the wind administers vows," where another woman, "large with grief and belly full of bees," would like to scream but finds "her mouth has become a honeycomb, her teeth and tongue coated in golden duress."  Small fruit songs is nothing short of delicious."

-- Beth Ann Fennelly

Read selections from small fruit songs in Umbrella



Diane Lockward's Blogalicious

Bridget Kelly-Lossada's Dreams of Trespass

Mary Alexandra Agner's Pantoums & Persistence