Already, Yasmin Gunaratnam has written a beautiful review in the Chicago Review of Books. She calls me a space nerd exploring my inner cosmos — and hits it right on the head.
Marlena Chertock, a self-confessed “space nerd” based in Washington, D.C. “I don’t need you/landing your probes or rovers/or feet on me. I exist without/being catalogued”, declares Chertock from the perspective of the feisty, fiery HD 189733b. Having lived with disability and chronic pain throughout her twenty-five years, Chertock knows about the intrusions of being categorized, probed, and investigated.
Voyaging between her daily life and science, bridging and entangling elements of both, Crumb-sized subverts—or ‘crips’ in the terminology of disability theorists—the putting in place of people with disabilities. Chertock’s particular gift is to play with scale, trying by turns to nudge and push at and ultimately to scatter perspective. You come away enchanted, unsettled, and a little dizzy.
I’m so excited to share my second collection of poetry with you. Crumb-sizedis being published by Unnamed Press in August — my birthday month!
I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to share another collection of poems with you, and so soon after my first was published.
Crumb-sized is tired of being called short. These poems explore life with a rare bone disorder. They use natural imagery to quantify pain better than the 1 to 10 scale. This is a book about overcoming the challenges you are born with.
Please pre-order Crumb-sized, since each order ensures the book will be successful. And review it on Goodreads or Amazon. Read it on the beach or a road trip. Tell all your friends!
“On that one-way trip to Mars” was reviewed in Beach Sloth. The reviewer writes, “the collection neatly focuses on the sadness that comes from planetary movements from hundreds of years away to the fragile nature of humanity. In a way, it celebrates how far humanity has come in trying to better understand its place in a vast space. The idea behind much of it is how fortunate humanity has been by its sheer existence.”
Beach Sloth understands the overarching vision I had for the book, which I’m so happy has actually been effective and came across for readers. Not only did I want to write a book about myself, my body, one human on Earth in this vast universe, but I also reflected on the fact that Earth is seemingly alone in this vast universe (at least, for now).
“Over the course of Marlena Chertock’s movement from across the solar system the elements of science and of life come into focus … [the poetry] lets the small period of time that defines a human life gain a universal approach,” Beach Sloth writes.
Some of my poems in this collection focus on other life-forms, aliens, finding the Earth after we’re long dead. “Gone will be languages, the aesthetics that defined society, and the way that distance within a single country becomes so small on a galactic scale,” the reviewer writes.
Diane writes, “Not all of the poems are speculative, but even those that are not come from a place which is maybe foreign to many people … There is a physicality to some of these poems, which puts an able-bodied person in a completely unfamiliar universe.”
She explains that my poems “explore how the world is experienced through the physical filter and how others experience and treat someone with Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia.”
My book “On that one-way trip to Mars” has been nominated for a 2017 Elgin Award!
I want to thank the Science Fiction Poetry Association for the consideration. The Association’s members nominate books for the award, which is given to the best book and chapbook published in the preceding year. This year’s award chair is Josh Brown.
My sister Hannah and I were accepted into the first ever DC Art + Book Fair! We’ll be sharing a table showcasing our art and writing on November 12 at Lab 1270 in Washington, D.C. There will be dozens of incredible artists, zines, writers, and more!
Hannah will be selling her hand cut bookmaking and journals. A lot of her art uses internal body imagery to bring awareness to disability and chronic pain. View more of Hannah’s work on her Instagram.
I’ll have copies of my book, “On that one-way trip to Mars,” available for sale, plus a space sticker of your choosing. My book is half Voyager mission/traveling through the Solar System, and half exploration of my skeletal dysplasia.
The event is organized by the DC Art Book Fair Collective: Malaka Gharib of The Runcible Spoon zine and The Little Filipino Coloring Book, Alison Baitz of On Flora zine, illustrator LA Johnson of The Intentional, and illustrator Elizabeth Graeber of A Field Guide For Redheads.
Jim Thompson, the founder and poetry editor of Cacti Fur, reviewed “On that one-way trip to Mars.” He called my book an imaginary “tour of our solar system” and “a pleasant balance of narrative and science.”
This review makes me starstruck; I’m so humbled by his words. See you on that one-way trip, Jim!
When you go to Mars, why can’t you come back to visit Earth? What if you don’t like it? Don’t worry, if Chertock is with you … it’s OK, she knows the way.
This book is a mix of detail, dream, David Bowie, confession, resolution and healing.
“On that one-way trip to Mars” is now on Goodreads!
Goodreads is an online community where you can organize and track your reading shelves. You can now add “On that one-way trip to Mars” to your shelves, ask me questions about the book, or leave a review.
And if you still haven’t ordered a copy, there’s no time like now to join the one-way trip journey!