Larissa's Blog

Official press release for PATIENT WOMEN

Friends, here is the official press release for PATIENT WOMEN, If you know anyone who would like to review, please share.
New Novel Explores Drug and Sex Addiction and Recovery in 1970s New York
Contact: Jonathan Penton, (337) 207-8713
Larissa Shmailo, (212) 712-9865
Lifelong New Yorker Larissa Shmailo presents the novel Patient Women (BlazeVOX [books], 2015). Patient Women focuses on the tragedies, misadventures, and growth of one Nora Nader, born of Queens and darling of the New York disco scene. As the Era of Rock unravels, we follow Nora through her experiences as a runaway, low-dollar and high-class prostitute, party girl, and working stiff, into her story of self-awareness and addiction recovery as she “finds herself capable of both physical and spiritual ascent.” (K.R. Copeland, Midwest Book Review).
At twelve years old, Nora leaves her Holocaust-survivor parents and explores the worst that New York has to offer. From there, we follow her through mental hospitals, alcoholism, and the accidental drowning of her husband on their honeymoon. We meet her fellow prostitutes and travel with them as they attempt to move to other careers. We bear witness to Nora’s tepid experiences in psychotherapy and her extraordinary relationship with her transgender AA sponsor. We go with her as she returns to Queens to learn about her parents’ ordeal in the camps and also recovers her own suppressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Through Nora, we track the spiral of history, and how individual New Yorkers experience the underside of the 1970s—both its horrors and the redemption that could be found there.
Patient Women reveals its author’s background as an accomplished poet and translator, and has been praised for balancing divergent literary styles while remaining an accessible page-turner. Second-generation Holocaust survivors, recovering addicts, and those experiencing mental illness will recognize their own stories in Patient Women, and find an insightful, well-written mirror that allows them to explore and articulate both their struggles and their triumphs.
Patient Women is a useful tool for individuals and groups studying the disco era and the AIDS crisis of New York in the 1970s and 80s. With its frank and thorough analysis of bipolar disorder and mental illness, psychiatric hospitalization, addiction, recovery, and incestual child abuse, it is of interest to therapists, therapy groups, and reading groups with an interest in recovery issues.
Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, editor, and critic living in New York. Her translations from Russian include the iconic avant-garde opera Victory over the Sun. Ms. Shmailo is available for booking at (212) 712-9865.
More information can be found at, including the Electronic Press Kit for Ms. Shmailo and Patient Women (with high-resolution photos) at…/larissa_shmailo_electronic_press_k…. Patient Women is available for purchase through Amazon, and at on-line and physical bookstores.
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Text of my poems in Plume

Two Poems |

I glance and
a boson blinks
into view.

A strong force

even as
a weak force
radios decay.

The gravity
of the situation

the magnetism

I observe and
my attention

turns particles into power
tracks into trails
whims into waves.

A fragment from The Llatease of Homey, from a recently discovered Mycenaean text.
. . . Cythera of the white and widening arse who stalked
strong Lactid on the Bluvian Isles; ah, strong-latted Lactid,
of the swaying sword whose droop in battle was legend
from the Bluvias to the Effluvias to the damp and puddly
Lluvias; a legend, god-written, and of Elera smitten (to whit,
her Attic tits), clad of Hephaestus’s mittens.
Ah, Bluvias, where the gold and green and pink and silver
and ivory and indigo and carmine and slightly beige-ish-off-
mauve-ish fishes fall to the net and the bent, spent trident
of Poseidon, who, green-maned, sea-stained, and a tad
weight-gained, also wore Hephaestus’s mittens as he
made love to Cythera, who looked a bit like Elera,
except fatter in the arse.
Unlike Myrcon the Dorkan, unmittened and unbitten,
on the shores of Elephantinople, where the nasty biting
ponies play in spent, bent Poseiden’s spray . . .
(Here the fragment of The Ilatease ends.)

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.