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Painted Space

Cati Porter

...each poem carries the reader on a carpet of words to a world furnished by Porter’s irresistible imagination... — Natasha Sajé

Hi. Thanks for finding me here. My name is Cati Porter and I am a poet, essayist, editor, and arts administrator based in Inland Southern California, where I live with my family.

When I was a kid, one of my teachers called me a space cadet because I was always daydreaming. Sure, I had my head in the clouds, but I was never bored. Now I'm a writer. 


I write a little bit of everything: newspaper articles on writing, magazine articles on topics I want to learn more about, essays when I want to learn a little more about myself. Those are my favorite, and my least-published genre. My essays often address tough parenting topics. An essay about talking to my sons about rape appears in Salon. One about teen suicide appears in The Manifest-Station. Another about parenting during the pandemic appears in Shark Reef (nominated for a Pushcart). Did I mention I have two sons? Oh. Yeah, that's been a major source of inspiration for my writing.

As far as my poems go, they run the gamut from serious to silly. My latest full-length poetry collection, The Body at a Loss, addresses parenting and cancer and family. My collection My Skies of Small Horses is more playful but also decidedly and darkly domestic, influenced in large part by the Gurlesque movement, which I learned about while earning my MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. (Yay, Cobalts!) My chapbook, The Body, Like Bread, is about hunger and satiation. I've also written about desire personified as Desire, Modigliani's nudes, and words related to fruit.

My new chapbook of poems, Novel, was published by Bamboo Dart Press in June 2022. It includes poems like "I Will Miss You When I'm Dead" and "Folding Dave." I also have another full-length manuscript that I am hoping will get picked up soon. In fact, it was a finalist for the 2021 Wilder Prize from Two Sylvias Press. Titled small mammals, it is about, well, small mammals -- but maybe not in the way you are thinking. They are mostly about parenting my sons, and their friends, and also the occasional mole, opossum, and rat.

The poet Natashe Sajé gave me the nicest blurb for my new chapbook, which I must share here. It really is the highest compliment, and I keep pinching myself. Thank you, Natasha, and thank you, Dear Reader, for stopping by. 

"Please give Cati Porter’s new book Novel to people who say they don’t like poetry. Not because these poems are simple or straightforward, rather because they are deeply charming. They cast spells: each poem carries the reader on a carpet of words to a world furnished by Porter’s irresistible imagination."

Natasha Sajé

Small Fruit Songs
Seven Floors Up
(al)most delicious
what Desire makes of us
The Way Things Move The Dark
The Body, Like Bread
My Skies of Small Horses
The Body at a Loss
Slow Unraveling of Living Ghosts by Bender & Porter
Novel: Poems

Featured Poems

I am your daughter and I am angry.

Born in a barn and raised by wolves,

I have eaten the porridgeand the plums
and I am not sorry.

She sells her apples to the highest bidder

at market. She comes home with pennies

in her pocket: freedom.

Near midnight and I click the circle that homes in
on my teenage son thirty five miles away


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