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!

District Lit seeks work for our Disability, Medicine, and Illness issue

District Lit is currently accepting poetry and creative nonfiction for our themed issue on Disability, Medicine, and Illness. We have Jen Stein Hauptmann, Assistant Editor at Rogue Agent, as a guest judge reading for this issue.

While District Lit is always open to work from writers with disabilities, this themed issue will highlight poetry and nonfiction about living with disability, illness, or medical treatments. We want writing and art about chronic illness, disability (visible and invisible), medical histories and procedures, recovery, and the body in all its forms. Send us your rawest poetry, powerful CNF, and embodied art.

The deadline is March 15, 2017.

Please submit your work.

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!

Three poems in Noble/Gas Quarterly

Noble/Gas Quarterly published three of my poems today in their 203.4 issue. I’m honored to be included with so many other great writers.

Application to NASA” is a retelling of my previous poem “On that one-way trip to Mars.” It’s my way of calling NASA out for its height restrictions, of blaming my bone disorder from keeping me from the stars (even though I didn’t actually major in a STEM field or take any path to flight school). These poems are my version of reckoning with the limitations my body and imperfect bones place on me.

I am rotting log of wood” uses natural imagery from forests and trees as another way to understand my body. Trees are often seen as strong, immovable — but cut inside and you’ll see rings with more information. Tree rings show times of drought, temperature, moisture in the atmosphere, and growth the tree endured. I’ve always felt a connection and respect for trees. So I used an extended metaphor of a rotting log of wood as my cartilage-deficient body in a forest full of able-bodies.

Harriet Tubman was disabled” tries to do justice to the amazing Harriet Tubman. Not only did she lead over 300 slaves to freedom, but she did so with a traumatic head injury. This is something we don’t learn when reading history books about her story. I actively work to keep disabled/chronic/invisible illness voices from being erased. This poem is one of my attempts.

Read the full 203.4 issue here.

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.

First ever DC Art Book Fair 📚 🎨

Hannah and I tabled at the first ever DC Art Book Fair in November.
Hannah and I tabled at the first ever D.C. Art Book Fair in November.

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.

Hannah Renae photo Etsy shop
Hannah sells handcut journals and books on her Etsy shop.

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.

I can’t wait for the next D.C. Art Book Fair!

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

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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

berls
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!

‘How to feel beautiful’ in The Deaf Poets Society

howtofeelbeautiful_deafpoetssociety

My poem “How to feel beautiful” was published today in The Deaf Poets Society. It’s a reflection on chronic pain.

This poem rejects the notion that we have to be pretty above all else. Beauty is a feeling. When you’re in constant pain, sometimes it’s hard to smile, get out of bed, go to work, deal with other people. But this is something those with chronic pain and disabled people do every single day.

Tell yourself you’re beautiful
so you start feeling it.

That is why the poem ends in space, outside the world. It ends in our blood and the stars. Because even with chronic pain, even if you are blind or deaf, even if you are an amputee, even if you are neurodivergent, even if you feel like all your spoons are full and spent, even then

your blood is still
made up of iron from ancient stars.

Thanks for reading.