Editor Jill Khoury posed important questions about my journey toward writing poetry that describes the experience of living in a body, the structure of On that one-way trip to Mars, and advice for others who want to explore embodied writing and art.
“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.
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!
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.
Last weekend, my sister Hannah and I tabled at the first ever D.C. Art Book Fair at Lab 1270 in Washington, D.C. We were so grateful and excited to be a part of the first fair!
The other tablers were diverse and talented. They sold handmade art, books, comics, feminist zines, poetry, posters of reimagined cartoon characters from the Rugrats and Hey Arnold, pins, patches, and more. Each table was unique and one tabler (Lenora Yerkes) even set up a lounge space to read, chat, or browse her art.
Hannah sold quite a few journals and a large-format handcut brain (pictured above with a red background). I also sold a few copies of “On that one-way trip to Mars.”
If you couldn’t make it out to the fair, you can view and purchase Hannah’s work on Etsy. She also commissions pieces for any style, color, and size you want. You can always purchase my book here.
About 1,000 people showed up for the fair, which was way larger than any crowd I was imagining! It was amazing to see people in D.C. gathering for such an eclectic mix of books and art — it definitely seemed more like something you would find in New York, Philly, or Baltimore. But this happened in D.C. — and everyone attending seemed to wander, linger, and enjoy.