Larissa's Blog

New Year's Resolution

To suspend judgment and criticism of myself and others; to be kind to my writing.
If I can do that, I will have accomplished a lot in 2016!
Happy New Year, you guys!

Come out of the darkness about depression this holiday


On the perfect roof, near a perfect ledge,
A small terra firma with a narrow edge,
No temporizing with last-minute balance,
No handhold, no foothold, no anchor, no ballast.
And once committed, once into the air,
No hovering, no kiting, no waiting there.
The polygonal street and the shining dark cars
Attacked at meters per second squared.
Once over, soon over: a thing done just once:
Like fireworks and New Years’ bells, fast and intense,
Quite finite, soon finished, thought long, slow begun,
And forgotten by others like the old year now done.

Thanks for a great literary 2015!

What a fantastic year 2015 has been! I want to thank everyone who helped me perform and publish and learn my craft this year. First, thank you Geoffrey Gatza and BlazeVOX [books] for publishing my novel, Patient Women, and to Meredith Sue Willis and Kimberly Rae Lorenz-Copeland for their thoughtful, insightful reviews, and to all my peeps in the Patient Women Facebook group for your enthusiastic readership.
I presented at two panels at AWP 2015, with poetry from the Eastern European Daughters of Baba Yaga and, moving in very erudite company indeed, on a translation panel with Matvei Yankelevich, Phil Metres, and Alexander Cigale. Speaking of translation, my rendering of Victory over the
Sun was performed in a high tech staging at Boston University under the auspices of director Anna Winestein and the Ballets Russes Initiative. It was also performed in part here in New York at the Cornelia Street Cafe with a brilliant performance by Bowery Bob Holman as the Time Traveler.
And then, to blow the roof off, there was the Unlikely Saints Poetry Tour of South Louisiana! OMG, New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, I love you! Thanks to impressario Jonathan Penton and friends for life Alexandra Johnson and Wendy Taylor Carlisle.
I got my own Wikipedia page thjs year! I was proud to have work in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and to be interviewed on Pennsound and to have my critical article on Philip Nikolayev's immured sonnets, an invented form, translated into Italian for the international translation journal Grafias. And, thanks to Jonathan Penton again, I got a brand new website:
Best of all, I studied meter and poetry with Annie Ridley Crane Finch -if only all teachers were like this guiding, inspiring woman! So proud to be presenting with Annie, Timothy Steele, Dean Kostos, and Amanda Johnson at AWP 16 next year.
Friends, thank you for making this possible. I kiss you all and wish you a very happy New Year indeed.

Christmas Star by Joseph Brodsky

Christmas Star by Joseph BrodskyTr. L. Shmailo In a cold time, in a place accustomed moreTo scorching heat, than cold, to the flatness of plain,than to hills: A child was born in a cave to save the world.And it stormed, as only the winter’s desert storms rain. Everything seemed huge to him: his mother’s breast,The yellow steam of the camels’ breath. And from afar,Their gifts carried here, the Magi, Balthazar, Melchior, Caspar.He was all of him just a dot. And that dot was a star. Attentively and fixedly, through the sparse cloudsUpon the recumbent child in the manger, through the night’s hazeFrom the depths of the universe, from its end and bound,A star watched over the cave. And that was the Father’s gaze.


"Death at Sea" and other tracks from my CDs THE NO-NET WORLD and EXORCISM are now available FREE on YouTube. Tracks are also available from Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Muze, and most digital distribution outlets. Enjoy!

Death at Sea (2:20)Provided to YouTube by CDBaby Death at Sea (2:20) · Larissa Shmailo The No-Net World ℗ 2006 Larissa Shmailo Released on: 2006-01-01 

Reading for the Walls Project, Baton Rouge

From Jonathan Penton's intro:
"Last month, thanks to Lyrically Inclined, The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective, and The Walls Project Art & Design Center, Larissa Shmailo read for the first time below the Mason-Dixon line in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Walls Project had just had a big fundraiser, and someone had walked away with the microphone jacks, so we enjoyed watching Vincent Cellucci hopelessly attempt to arrange audio, then we watched this great reading:"

New review of PATIENT WOMEN, a novel by Larissa Shmailo

Thanks to Kimberly Ray Copeland for her review of PATIENT WOMEN, to appear in the Midwest Book Review this month.
Poet/novelist Larissa Shmailo's latest offering, Patient Women, is a raw, unfaltering, fictional story (heavily peppered, no doubt, with the author’s own personal anecdotes) that follows the tumultuous life of one highly likeable Nora Nader - a self-deprecating heroine with an indelible edge.
Nora, the daughter of an overbearing mother and an emotionally detached father; both Nazi prison camp survivors, is determined to assert herself and make her way through the world according to her own rules and regulations. Her whirlwind journey begins in 1970's Queens, NY, where Nora, at the tender age of 12, leaves home and takes to the inhospitable streets of NYC.
While battling a plethora of personal demons, including; sex, drug, and alcohol addiction, as well as severe depression (“I’m never happy. I always feel like Auschwitz inside”), we watch in horror as our protagonist devolves from Ivy League student, to waitress, to prostitute (“The best blow job in NY”).
Both physical and emotional abuse is prevalent throughout the course of Nora’s life, and slowly but surely long-buried secrets are unearthed.
With unrelenting determination, and a little help from her friends (specifically, a drop dead gorgeous drag queen turned AA sponsor named Chrisis, who assures Nora, in regards to sobriety/recovery, “If I can do this, anybody can.”) Nora finds herself capable of both physical and spiritual ascent.
At moments painstakingly heart-wrenching, at others, hopefully poetic, Patient Women is ultimately an in-your-face tale about the resilience of the human spirit, in the midst of familial and societal discord, and the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

Scribd Preview of PATIENT WOMEN

Dear friends, here's a preview of my new novel, Patient Women, a story of a woman's journey through sex addiction, substance abuse, the Woodstock and punk rock crazy years, to recovery and love and a life as an artist (my story).
Read PATIENT WOMEN preview

Southern Love

We just finished the fourth leg of our Unlikely Saints tour of Southern Louisiana, with shows in New Orleans, Baton Rouge. Lafayette, and Grand Coteau. What an experience! The poetry, the music, the dancing, the food, and most of all, the people! Thanks to Jonathan Penton for organizing this mindblowing word trip! I'll be back for more crawfish, zydeco dancing, and southern love soon!

Vote for PATIENT WOMEN in the Goodreads 2015 Choice Awards

Friends, please vote for PATIENT WOMEN in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015 for best fiction! My poet protagonist Nora and I really appreciate your vote  Cast your vote in the FICTION category.
Please vote for PATIENT WOMEN here!THANKS!
Voted for Patient Women in the Opening Round of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards: Best FictionVote for the best books of the year! Check out the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award nominees in 20 categories!2015 Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Fiction.  

Enter the PATIENT WOMEN Goodreads Giveaway!

Dear friends:
Enter the PATIENT WOMEN Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win a FREE signed copy of my new novel. PATIENT WOMEN has been called "a brutally honest wrestling match of truth-telling and sex" and "the best book . . . about this period of life in NYC since Patti Smith's Just Kids."  Hailed as stylistically brilliant (thank you, readers!) in its use of poetry, journal entries, flash, and innovative narrative, PATIENT WOMEN has chapters about prostitution, the Holocaust, incest, and the post-Woodstock era.
Enter here:




      Buy a copy: Patient Women
      THANK YOU!

          by Larissa Shmailo


            Giveaway ends November 06, 2015.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.


    Enter Giveaway

My poem, "Gaia's Lunacy," appears in Journal of Poetics Research

I am very pleased that my poem, "Gaia's Lunacy," appears in John Tranter's new Journal of Poetics Research. 

Here is the text of the poem:

The Sun is hot and bothered, and libidinal, having fatheredall our mendicants and tycoons, cops and robbers, and our rife loons.
The Earth below is verdant, child of Eros, green, exultant for solar love would bask her with his sure heat and not task her,
but treasure all her madmen, all her masters and their bondsmen,thus offering a devotion of which our Gaia has no notion.
The fickle Earth presumes a love from solar powers as enough;Her denizens expect the same and bask in glory with no name.
Now, the music of the spheres should play loud in one's own earsBut creation's power's assumed, and unheard by all us loons.
Journal of Poetics Research:

Countdown to Louisiana!

Dear Louisiana friends, I am so excited to be visiting the legendary cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette for the very first time. I'll be reading from my books In Paran, #specialcharacters, and my new novel, Patient Women. I hope to see you at my readings there! Tuesday, November 3, 7pm-9pmElevator Projects451 Florida St., Suite 102, Baton Rouge(in the downtown Chase building)No cover, wine providedReaders include Xander Bilyk (New Orleans), Wendy Taylor Carlisle (Eureka Springs, AR), Michael Harold (Shreveport), Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson (Lafayette), Dylan Krieger (Baton Rouge), and Larissa Shmailo (NYC)
Thursday, November 5, 6pm sharp-8pm sharp:Crescent City Books230 Chartres St., New OrleansNo cover, wine providedReaders include Wendy Taylor Carlisle (Eureka Springs, AR), Michael Harold (Shreveport), Carolyn Hembree (New Orleans), Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson (Lafayette), Christopher Shipman (New Orleans), and Larissa Shmailo (NYC)
Friday, November 6, 7:30 pm-9:30pmThe Ballet Académie200 Polk St., LafayetteNo cover, wine providedReaders include Wendy Taylor Carlisle (Eureka Springs, AR), Michael Harold (Shreveport), Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson (Lafayette), Dylan Krieger (Baton Rouge), Larissa Shmailo (NYC), and John Warner Smith (Baton Rouge)