Marlena Chertock is a digital storyteller and poet.

Photo by John Consoli.
Photo by John Consoli.

Marlena has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She writes about growing up with a rare skeletal dysplasia, chronic pain, accessibility, science fiction, intersectionality and identity, queerness, and how climate change impacts disabled people and other vulnerable communities (especially when climate action plans don’t include them). She is an advocate for human rights — including disabled, LGBTQ+, people of color, immigrants and refugees, neurodivergent, incarcerated, and other marginalized folks.

She regularly moderates panels at literary conferences, participates in podcast interviews, facilitates writing workshops, and performs poetry at open mics and reading series. She serves on the board of Split This Rock, a nonprofit that cultivates and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. Previously, she was a Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, and a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Wordgathering, and more.

Marlena is the Communications Specialist for the Water Program at World Resources Institute. In this role, she:

  • manages communications projects and crafts communications strategies for several teams, data tools, and projects working on water risk, water security, water-related conflict, corporate water stewardship, water targets, our Aqueduct data platform, nature-based solutions and natural infrastructure for water, sustainable water use in Ethiopia, and urban water resilience in Africa
  • translates technical jargon into messages that can be understood by a variety of audiences, especially the general public
  • writes key messages and social content
  • edits blogs
  • produces the program’s newsletter
  • coordinates with external communications partners as well as communications colleagues across WRI’s global network
  • oversees communications interns for the program as well as freelance videographers and photographers collecting content in several African cities
  • promotes events

Marlena writes articles for Electrical Contractor Magazine, covering topics such as the power crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and how to ensure safe construction sites during COVID-19. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, Electrical Contractor Magazine, News21, WTOP, and more.

She is always open for collaborating, meeting writers of all sorts, and geeking out over space and books.