Crumb-sized reviewed in the Chicago Review of Books

It’s pub day for Crumb-sized and I’m over the moon!

Already, Yasmin Gunaratnam has written a beautiful review in the Chicago Review of Books. She calls me a space nerd exploring my inner cosmos — and hits it right on the head.

Marlena Chertock, a self-confessed “space nerd” based in Washington, D.C. “I don’t need you/landing your probes or rovers/or feet on me. I exist without/being catalogued”, declares Chertock from the perspective of the feisty, fiery HD 189733b. Having lived with disability and chronic pain throughout her twenty-five years, Chertock knows about the intrusions of being categorized, probed, and investigated.

Voyaging between her daily life and science, bridging and entangling elements of both, Crumb-sized subverts—or ‘crips’ in the terminology of disability theorists—the putting in place of people with disabilities. Chertock’s particular gift is to play with scale, trying by turns to nudge and push at and ultimately to scatter perspective. You come away enchanted, unsettled, and a little dizzy.

You can read the full review here.

‘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.

‘On that one-way trip to Mars’ reviewed in Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Star*Line

“On that one-way trip to Mars” was reviewed in the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Star*Line by Diane Severson. I’m so honored by this review.

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.”

Read the full review here.

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.