Red Stain

by Liza Porter

Finishing Line Press




"There will be falling" is finalist for nonfiction in 49th New Millennium Writings.

"Esther of the Hearts" is live on THE WRITE LAUNCH.

             READ IT HERE:

"Skar" is live on THE WRITE LAUNCH.

            READ IT HERE:

"Mugshot" is live on BENDING GENRES JOURNAL.

           READ IT HERE:

"To Joy Harjo on the Road from New Mexico will appear this year in THE RED WHEELBARROW REVIEW.

"There will be falling" appeared in BREVITY in May 2019

           READ IT HERE:

"The day my brother meets Bob Dylan..." was published in November 2018 in VISITING BOB: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press, 2018).

           BUY ONE HERE:



"How to Survive the Dinner Table"
(Chautauqua 2015)
is Notable Essay

in Best American Essays 2016


RED STAIN is finalist for
2015 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award
and the 2015 WILLA Award



(7th entry dated June 26, 2018)

"Labyrinth" (Passages North 2014)
is Notable Essay

in Best American Essays 2015

Reviews of Red Stain:

Here is another howl for these late, if not quite last, days of the American empire, a scream echoing through nineteen unbridled, unflinching, poems. Fortunately, for the reader (for many of these poems are hard to read without flinching), Porter offers us glimpses of hope: in a brother’s ceaseless caring, in a young man’s road to recovery and in the narrator’s own emergence from the nightmare of history (rape, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, for starters). Because “There is never enough Clorox,” the red stain of trauma (violence, abortions, etc.) only fades; it never disappears. Liza Porter takes up this stained burden bequeathed by Plath, Sexton and many other, many nameless, women. Here is a gift, a warning and a plea for future girls and boys, for women and men to come. And for all human beings who remain, who are somehow, incredulously, still here.


                  Tyrone Williams, author of Pink Tie, The

                  Hero Project, Adventures of Pi, and



In these harrowing poems, pitched in what Yeats called “the foul rag and bone shop of the heart,” Liza Porter powerfully portrays the damages and the damaged. In these “sorrow songs,” even the earth suffers, “muddy spring trickling down to the beach like blood from a cut.” Still in this world where “people fall into the streets like ghosts,” there is a hard won sense of victory, the victory of those who survive, who live. In Red Stain, hope is as insistent as a scream and as convincing as a recovery meeting, where the “next voice whispers miracles, his little-kid fingers shaped into crucifixes, pit bulls that didn’t attack.”


                             Rebecca Seiferle, Tucson       

                             PoetLaureate, author of

                             Wild Tongue and Bitters


With unflinching honesty and no-nonsense language, Liza Porter peels back the human skin to reveal its darkest, most raw underside. And yet, her work leaves us with hope, and most important, with love.


                            Naomi Benaron, author of 

                            Running the Rift and

                            Love Letters from a Fat Man


In Red Stain, Liza Porter rips poetry from the wounded heart of drugs, sex and rock n' roll. "The warm tongue of dope, cool teeth of booze, the dirty fingers of men" haunt this stunning collection's raw report of life lived at the edge. Porter's "star-struck despair, those glittering addicted eyes" have absorbed her world, and she has survived to remind us about the strength needed to stay alive, and the power of poetry to communicate the resilience of the human spirit. Red Stain is nothing short of triumphant.


                             Richard M. Berlin, author of

                             Secret Wounds