Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. …

We should be getting a new tire today, / but we are driving slowly / to a farm in Queens instead / to see llamas and sheep, pumpkins and cornstalks. / I’m tired of being responsible.

Cati Porter is a poet, editor, essayist, and arts administrator who hails from Southern California. She is the author of five chapbooks and three full-length collections of poetry.

“Are you supposed to reduce them?” / I ask. // “No,” she says, “we didn’t learn / simplifying yet.”

My husband first brought up vasectomy three years earlier, just before our second son turned two.

Chemo and winter ended, spring and radiation began.

The serene face of the hand-painted geisha is nothing like the woman I am here to mourn.

September makes us feel a little nostalgic for our school days, so here are some of our favorite books from those times which are worth discovering anew.

In my little writing room, I felt a restless impatience that I recognized from my life as a parent.

"Yes, mama," she says quieter, less certain, but hopeful. / I am the one who understands her best.

There was a time I could not fathom / her being able, allowed, to wander the house alone.

"Are you supposed to reduce them?" / I ask. // "No," she says, "we didn't learn / simplifying yet."

His arms are outstretched in a cross, dropping / what could be stars through stick fingers.

What is it called?– / the seed carried aloft by the ephemeral?

In her poetry, Dickinson equated motherhood with the bounty and fertility of nature. It is an interesting paradox: the reclusive woman who wrote extensively about the world outside her window.

"I credit the California Poets in the Schools program with changing the trajectory of my life." Cati Porter

Cindy Ross's memoir is in equal parts an impassioned argument for the parental road less traveled, a nostalgic travelogue of journeys both inspirational and harrowing, and a valentine to her courageous children.

Cati Porter's collection of poetry finds a way to define the realities of living with cancer. The fright. The uncertainty. The helplessness. The hope.