The Editor of Cacti Fur Reviewed My Book!

A photo of backpacks hanging with "Review: On that one-way trip to Mars" by Marlena Chertock overlaid in text on top.

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.

Read the full review here.

‘Cemetario General’ in Cacti Fur

My poem “Cemetario General” was published in Cacti Fur. I wrote this poem in Chile, while traveling through that beautiful land of friendly people. People in Chile kiss you on both cheeks when they meet you.

I went to Chile in 2013 for a winter-term trip through the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. We visited Santiago, Valparaíso, and Pucón. Valparaíso was my favorite place — a port city built on rolling hills with old pulley systems that bring you to different levels of the city. It’s also one of the most artistic cities I’ve visited, with artist colonies, graffiti, and murals everywhere. It’s inspired several poems.

Through my class, we learned about Chile’s haunting past in which dictator Augusto Pinochet overthrew the president and caused forced disappearances and murders of thousands of people. This is a very politically-inspired piece.

We toured Cemetario General, the largest cemetery in Santiago. One of the plots, Patio 29, was used to bury these disappeared and unidentified. In addition to the plot, there were walls and walls of crumbling concrete with boxes — and bodies, the remains, maybe only what could be found of a loved one, inside. While we toured, learned, and paid our respect, we passed a cemetery worker who was cleaning the grounds. I was caught reflecting about his job, and this piece was the result.

You can read the poem here.

Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 10.08.09 AM

‘Wind chimes’ in Cacti Fur

My poem “Wind chimes” was published in Cacti Fur’s second issue.

I wrote the first version of this poem in college at the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. Over the years, it’s gone through several revisions. I’m happy that it’s finally found a home in Cacti Fur.

The poem details a woman who wishes to be a mother, but has had several miscarriages. And, in order to deal with them and mourn what has not yet formed, she obsesses over creating wind chimes and hanging them on her tree outside. I’ve never had to deal with a miscarriage, and I hope that this poem does not offend, but offers solace and understanding.

You can read the poem here.

Wind chimes