‘On that one-way trip to Mars’ reviewed in Beach Sloth

“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.

Read the full review here.

Win a book gift card from Bottlecap Press

Bottlecap Press, the publisher of my book “On that one-way trip to Mars,” is holding a gift card giveaway!

For a chance to win a $100 gift card, tweet a picture of your favorite Bottlecap poem by March 31 — and be sure to tag them at @BottlecapPress.

You could tweet one of mine or plenty of other great Bottlecap poets for a chance to win!

2016 reflections

Some 2016 accomplishments I’m proud of:

  • Bottlecap Press published my book On that one-way trip to Mars.
  • More of my disability-themed poetry was published. Thanks The Deaf Poets Society, Noble/Gas Quarterly, The Fem, Wordgathering, Words Dance, and others.
  • I got to talk to so many amazing young scientists and women in STEM for stories with Society for Science & the Public. I’m so glad they’re the future.
  • Tabling with my sister Hannah Chertock at the first-ever @dcartbookfair was so much fun. We sold our art, and met amazing writers/artists.
  • I discussed poetry and diversity in literary magazines on panels at Split This Rock’s poetry festival and the Frostburg Indie Lit Fest.
  • My panel was accepted for AWP 2017. Excited to have conversations about building inclusive communities in publishing and literature.
  • I read poetry in NYC at Berl’s Poetry Shop for a Bottlecap Press featured reading. It’s great to meet poet friends in new places.
  • I got an LGBT short story published by Paper Darts. So happy it found a great home.
  • The first of my Forecast stories, detailing various eco-futures, was published by OMNI Reboot.
  • Moonsick Magazine published my short story on migrants, based on a heartbreaking episode of Story Corps.
  • In 2016, I got 13 poems and 5 stories published. I’m so grateful to each and every one of the online and print magazines that accepted my writing, and that rejected me. My writing has grown from each rejection — and I can’t wait to submit more, hopefully get more acceptances, and probably more rejections, along the way.

Here’s to 2017. To submitting more writing, supporting each other, and speaking up loudly! Happy New Year!

Reading in NYC

Reading at Berl's Poetry Shop.
Reading at Berl’s Poetry Shop. Photo courtesy of Samantha Siberini.

Earlier this month I ventured up to the Big Apple for a poetry reading. I was invited to read with several other Bottlecap Press authors at Berl’s Poetry Shop in Brooklyn. It’s an adorable small bookstore filled with great collections of poetry — you should check it out!

When you’re published by a small press, you get opportunities to actually meet the other authors in their collection. It was really special to meet and read with these great writers. I hope to read with them again soon.

I got a whole new set of reactions than in D.C. when I read from “On that one-way trip to Mars.” I asked who would go to space if they could, and everyone in the audience raised their hands. They listened attentively and laughed during humorous poems.

Thanks Berl’s Poetry founders, Jared White and Farrah Field, and Bottlecap Press for making the event happen! It’s always great to hear poetry aloud after reading it on my own — poems can really take on a new life when it’s spoken and performed among others.

My book is on sale for the holiday weekend

Bottlecapsule 2015-2016 Anthology
Bottlecapsule 2015-2016 Anthology

Bottlecap Press, the publisher of my book “On that one-way trip to Mars,” has a 2015-2016 anthology available for a limited time only (through Monday)!

The anthology features new and old work from several Bottlecap Press authors, plus letters from all of us to the readers. It’s a great way to sample tons of Bottlecap Press authors at once!

I’m honored to be included with these great writers. Make sure to get your copy this weekend before this amazing anthology goes away.

Bottlecap Press is also having a holiday sale through Monday. All books are 20% offincluding mine for $9.60! Books make a great gift, so consider buying some for the readers in your life.

‘On that one-way trip to Mars’ reviewed in Vagabond City Lit!


I’m heading to Mars right now. I’ve left orbit. This amazing review from Bethany Mary has blasted me off the planet!

Bethany reviewed “On that one-way trip to Mars” in Vagabond City Lit, calling it warm and chilling, covering human emotion and the expanse of the solar system.

She gets the pain I was trying so hard to express somehow, some way.

Neck braces constrict like halos just a little too low. Spines curve so much it is hard to balance.

She is spot on in her assessment that my poems suggest “it is self-centered to believe that we are not sometimes alien.”

That can make being different, being born with skeletal dysplasia, having chronic pain easier to swallow, sometimes. To know that we’re probably not the only ones in this universe, our pain isn’t the only thing going on in the world, there are others beside ourselves.

Haven’t we learned already that we are not the center of the universe? This little poetry book reminds us of that.

Thank you for your beautiful, thoughtful review, Bethany. It means the world and Mars and all of the stars to me.

Read the full review here.

‘Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in’: Reading at Berl’s Poetry Shop

Song title lyrics always make good headlines, right? Well, on November 5 I’ll be asking Brooklyn and New Yorkers to take me in at a poetry reading at Berl’s Poetry Shop!

The reading starts at 3 p.m. and features several Bottlecap Press authors, including yours truly.

The other readers include: Zachary Cosby, a bookseller in Portland, Oregon with work in the Los Angeles Review of Books, tNY, and The Portland Review; William Keller, a poet and musician who works as a life drawing model at Rhode Island School of Design; Ian Macks has a chapbook, A Loss and Gain of Comfort, available from Bottlecap Press; Elijah Pearson, co-founder/editor of Spy Kids Review and 2 Fast 2 House; Patrick Trotti, founder/editor of (Short) Fiction Collective, founder/editor of Peanut Gallery Press, co-founder/co-editor of Thousand Shades of Gray, editorial assistant for Tiny Hardcore Press; Stephanie Valente, founder and chief editor at Alt Bride, associate editor at Yes, Poetry, and social media manager and columnist at Luna Luna Magazine; and Alexandra Wuest, editor at HOLOGRAM zine. Amanda Dissinger is the host and her chapbook This is How I Will Tell You I Love You is available from Bottlecap Press.

Hope to see you there!

‘On that one-way trip to Mars’ is now on Goodreads


“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!

Reviews for ‘On that one-way trip to Mars’

Photo by Rachel Adams.
Photo by Rachel Adams.

On that one-way trip to Mars” is out in the big wide world! Rachel Adams, the editor of Lines+Stars, just received her copies today.

After a brief pause in shipping to update the book, “On that one-way trip to Mars” is Bottlecap Press’ first-ever glossy covered book! Shipping has now resumed.

So if you’ve ordered yours, look out in the mail. If you haven’t yet ordered, there’s no time like now to join the journey to Mars.

Read what others have been 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