On that one-way trip to Mars reviewed in Agape Editions

My first book got some love today! Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, herself the author of three poetry collections, reviewed On that one-way trip to Marsin Agape Editions.

Jennifer explains that with the book sectioned into planets in the solar system, reader(s) “quickly realizes how the poems reflect different characteristics of not only planets but people. Each planet possesses a different appearance, has select wants and needs. Each planet holds specific gifts.”

This is something that I wanted to express in the collection. On that one-way trip to Mars didn’t start off in that solar system structure. But slowly as I was piecing the manuscript together, the poems seemed to be broken into chunks of emotion, theme, and voice.

Despite the collection’s title, alluding to an escape, most of Chertock’s words are rooted into the earth, the here and now, the real, the sensual, the fight.

Jennifer also said that “when not in space, Chertock’s poems excel at exploring what lives on the ground,” which I’m so glad to have done even a little bit right. I come from the Earth, so all of my writing is a form of tribute to my home. Even though I’m constantly looking up at the stars, at beyond, I know and love where I come from.

My first book focused on my bone disorder, but was also very ingrained in space and the universe at large. Jennifer writes, “There are doctor visits and tests and pills and pain, but also warrior-like strength and immense love.”

I’m grateful for Jennifer’s thoughtful reflection on my work. You can read the full review here.


Good things come in Crumb-sized packages

Crumb-sized: Poems cover

I’m so excited to share my second collection of poetry with you. Crumb-sized is being published by Unnamed Press in August — my birthday month!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to share another collection of poems with you, and so soon after my first was published.

Crumb-sized is tired of being called short. These poems explore life with a rare bone disorder. They use natural imagery to quantify pain better than the 1 to 10 scale. This is a book about overcoming the challenges you are born with.

Please pre-order Crumb-sizedsince each order ensures the book will be successful. And review it on Goodreadsor Amazon. Read it on the beach or a road trip. Tell all your friends!

Come out on August 23 for a book launch party at East City Bookshop! And look out for other readings in Washington, D.C. and other cities.

Thank you for supporting my writing, my dreams. You all have Jupiter-sized hearts to me.


Worthy bodies: Highlighting disabled writers in District Lit


District Lit, the journal I’m the Poetry Editor for, recently published our Disability Issue. These writers and artists share their raw truths about living with disabilities, chronic pain, invisible illness, and medical treatments. They share intimate medical histories, fears, hopes, pain, and scars.

These are important voices, and I’m so excited and honored to share them. I’ve been wanting to highlight the voices of people with disabilities and chronic illness for a while, and District Lit offered a great home for these important stories and experiences.

These writers and artists share their raw truths. These are vital voices at a time when the Affordable Care Act, healthcare, Medicaid/Medicare, and disability rights are threatened.

These contributors show the disabled and chronically ill body unflinchingly. They show their bodies are valid bodies.

You can also read my and Guest Editor Jen Stein Hauptmann’s Editors’ Note for more background on the issue.

The issue includes artwork by Christine Stoddard and Paul Flippen; nonfiction by: Emma Bolden, Shari Eberts, Kaleb Estes, Jenn A. Garvin, Heather Taylor Johnson, and Amy Wang Manning; and poetry by: D. Allen, Judith Arcana, Roxanna Bennett, J V Birch, Kristene Brown, Aubrie Cox Warner, Katherine Edgren, Robbie Gamble, Jane Ellen Glasser, Joey Gould, Carrie Purcell Kahler, Jen Karetnick, Christoph Keller, Adrian Kresnak, Travis Chi Wing Lau, Sarah Lilius, Jennifer Met, Daniel Edward Moore, David Olsen, Jeff Pearson, Maria Ramos-Chertok, Andrea Rogers, Ruby Stephens, Denise Thompson-Slaughter, and Jessica Tower.

Poet Kaveh Akbar even tweeted that everyone should take time with this important issue. Thanks for your support, Kaveh!

Please take some time with our Disability Issue.

Summer reading ☀️📚

I love summer for countless reasons. There’s more time to lounge and read, the days grow longer, my birthday falls in the summer. My spirits are always higher in this season — something about the warmth of the sun on my skin, the fireflies lighting up the night.

When I was a kid, summer vacation also meant summer reading, great for an avid reader like me! That’s stayed constant in my life even after school. I’ve already read lots of books this summer, and plan to finish more.

Also, this summer is jam-packed with poetry readings and literary festivals. Here are some upcoming events that I’m super excited about:

•  July 28: I’m a featured reader at The Deaf Poets Society’sreading at Bards Alley in Vienna, Va. at 7 p.m. Bards Alley is a brand-new bookstore in the DMV area, and the DPS literary journal has been doing incredible work at offering a space for D/deaf/disabled writers and artists. There are going to be incredible readers, like Camisha Jones, so make sure to come to this one.

Ask Rayceen Show August 2017• August 2: As a part of The Ask Rayceen ShowI’m participating in the Authors’ Corner with OutWrite 2017 panelists at the Human Rights Campaign at 7 p.m. There will also be live music, poetry readings, and a burlesque performance.

Queer Enough panel at OutWrite 2017•  OutWrite 2017, August 5:

Hope to see you at some (or all!) of these events! Happy summer (reading)!

Poems in Wicked Banshee Press’s The Devil’s Doorbell: Vagina Edition

I have two poems in Wicked Banshee Press’s The Devil’s Doorbell: Vagina Edition, which was published in March. You can now purchaseprint copies ($10) or the ebook ($2.99), by emailing wickedbansheepress@gmail.com.

I’m honored to be included in this anthology of women, trans women, non-binary, and non-gender conforming writers. We need to talk more about vaginas, periods, and women (in all their forms).

My poems in this edition are “It should be called womenstruate” and “On it II.” In “It should be called womenstruate,” I discuss the history of the word menstruate, and how the prefix makes it seem like a male activity or a male word given to such a female part of life. Through menstruation, women are connected. We seep together. “On it II” is also a history poem, documenting different girls and women who first get their periods or experience different situations while menstruating, some embarrassing, some empowering.

Buy the Vagina Edition of Wicked Banshee Press.

Poems in Daughter Literary Magazine

I’m so excited to have two poems in Daughter’s inaugural issueDaughter, a new literary magazine focusing on sharing the voices of women or female-identifying people, calls itself a lit mag for all women.

The poems included are “This isn’t a poem about motherhood” and “Recipe to reduce pain.”

“This isn’t a poem about motherhood” (pg. 22-23) is about pregnancy when you have chronic pain. “Recipe to reduce pain” (pg. 32-33) lists rituals of self-care, like taking a long, hot epsom salt bath.

Read them here.