“On that one-way trip to Mars” was published by Bottlecap Press in May 2016.
“On that one-way trip to Mars” is a version of the Voyager’s Grand Tour, if the spacecraft had skeletal dysplasia. It is a space journey that includes aliens finding the Golden Record, the increasing warmth of the sun, and zero gravity to give aching bones a break. These poems travel the solar system. Blast into orbit and head on that one-way journey with them.
In the press:
Read what others are saying about the book:
“In her first full-length collection, Marlena Chertock’s keen observations swing from the bodily to the astral, confidently taking on family history and imaginary lovers alike. Chertock leaps to planets and points-of-view other than her own with a sure-footedness wrought by an intimate tone, fresh, direct language and fully articulated images.”
-Johnna Schmidt, Director, Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House
“In Marlena Chertock’s debut poetry collection, On that one-way trip to Mars, the poet paints the narrative of a woman with Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia across the planets of our solar system. Like moving between microscope and telescope, Chertock zooms in to look at this woman’s genes while simultaneously zooming out to search for a life form who will understand her. This book, beautifully written and yet accessible to any reader, provides the very adventure she yearns for.”
-Kelly Ann Jacobson, I Have Conversations with You in My Dreams
“The poems of On That One-Way Trip to Mars speak of journeys — far-reaching ones that arc into the celestial, and inward meditations on the failings and transformations of the body. Chertock takes incisive, observant inroads into illness, family, and personal histories, confronting pain and physicality with a voice as aware and alive as a solar beam.”
-Rachel Adams, Editor, Lines + Stars
“Chertock’s poignant poems soar across the solar system with humor and heartache landing on each planet with a thud. They tell a story of a poet born with skeletal dysplasia who writes with surprising candor and lives with unshakeable courage on planet Earth. Get ready; put on your space suit and follow Chertock on a remarkable journey into outer space.”
-Lalita Noronha, Her Skin Phyllo-thin
“A marvelous and marvelously brave book gently probing outer and inner space and illuminating, in the end, that ever elusive still point at the center of our cosmos: the courage to go on in the face of ultimate mystery. Highly recommended!
-L.D. Russell, Goodreads review
“This book of poetry focuses primarily on two topics — the poet’s bone disorder and her desire for space travel. While at first glance these two things seems far apart the poet is able to bring them together, weaving them into a story you want to keep reading. Throughout the book there are also poems about her family, including one of my favorites, ‘Dinner uncooked’ which laments baby birds inside their oven and her mother’s inability to use the oven. Another favorite is ‘Armpit arsonist’ which has the wonderful line “He didn’t think a dollar-store lighter / would make them turn over and over, / like he danced when he was drunk.” Overall this book of poetry was a delightful read, I recommend it.”
-Courtney LeBlanc, Goodreads review