Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Great review of Patient Women by Meg Tuite!

Dive into the deep end: read this novel! Unforgettable and mesmerizing!
By M. Tuite on August 27, 2015
There are many categories of writing, but as readers there are two distinct places we tend to go: either `escape from reality' mode or `dive into the deep end' through writing that unnerves us on a personal level. The poems/stories or novels may be situated in different continents, cultures, even species, and yet they confront us with fragments of ourselves that defy diversity.
Shmailo's work takes me to places in my life that I am both afraid and compelled by. There is no escape here. It is about recognition and a fortitude that didn't exist before. It is about finding oneself again, in amazement and thankfulness, through another writer's words.
Here are some quotes from Shmailo's novel, Patient Women.
"There was anger in the house, anger in the very walls."
"Home life acquired a dangerous sameness."
"Nora had learned to detect the subtlest shifts in the affective atmosphere of her home: she became expert in detecting and defusing the charges, like a teenage bomb squad."
"Nora kept rattling him like a jammed door she was sure she had the right to enter."
"God writes straight with crooked lines, Nora..."
Shmailo takes the reader into the world of a strong, sensitive, acute protagonist, Nora, who moves through many lives in this novel. She is a sex worker, a brilliant woman, an incest survivor, a woman who takes us into the streets and wrestles with her/our inner/outer demons. "Patient Women" is a novel everyone should read. There is no shrinking back from the violence Nora experiences and witnesses and the power of Shmailo's brilliant writing that takes us inside all of it.
Don't miss out on this! Get a copy and find yourself mesmerized and changed by "Patient Women". WOW!!! Unforgettable!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Russian Launch Party for Larissa Shmailo’s Patient Women (press release)



For immediate release
Press contacts:
Larissa Shmailo
212-712-9865
Regina Khidekel

Russian Launch Party for Larissa Shmailo’s Patient Women
Uncle Vanya’s
315 West 54th Street
New York, NY
212-757-0168
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
7:00 to 10 pm
FREE; open to the public
New York City. A real Russian launch party will celebrate the publication of poet Larissa Shmailo’s debut novel, Patient Women, on September 8. Sponsored by the Russian American Culture Center, the event features the talents of a glittering host of prominent Eastern European and New York City literary figures, including Alex Cigale, Steve Dalachinsky, Bonny Finberg, Andrey Gritsman, Patricia Spears Jones, Ron Kolm, Irina Mashinski, Yuko Otomo, Audrey Roth, and Thad Rutkowski.
About Patient Women
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.” Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Haywire, writes:
Larissa Shmailo’s Patient Women tells the story of Nora, a gifted young woman who comes of age in New York against heavy odds. Her Russian mother is demanding; the young men around her are uncaring; and her dependence on drink and sex leads her to a shadowy life filled with self-made demons. Yet Nora’s intelligence pulls her through the difficult times—there are even moments of (very) dark humor here.
Anne Elliott, author of The Beginning of the End of the Beginning, adds:
Christ-figures are likely to be cross-dressers in this engaging bildungsroman, which takes us on a wild ride through NYC nightclubs of the 1970's, rock-bottom blackouts, a whorehouse, and the slogan-filled rooms of recovery. Surreal and lyrical, then bawdy and riotous, then plainspoken and tragic, Patient Women had me rooting hard for its lovable, drowning heroine to keep her head above water and let in grace.
The Russian American Cultural Center
The Russian American Cultural Center (RACC) sponsors readings, art exhibitions, film screenings, and other events of interest throughout New York; for more information about RACC, see their website at http://www.russianamericanculture.com/
The launch party for Patient Women is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author at the event. Patient Women is also available on Amazon at

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Save the date! The NYC Patient Women launch party 9/8

Friends, save the date! The NYC launch party will happen Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7:00 pm at Uncle Vanya's, 315 W 54. Readings by Alexander Cigale, Steve Dalachinsky, Bonny Finberg, Patricia Spears Jones, Ron Kolm, Irina Mashinski, Yuko Otomo, Audrey Roth, Thaddeus Rutkowski, yours truly, and other special guests. More details as I get them.This event is sponsored by the Russian American Cultural Center, so it will be a blast. I absolutely hope to see every single one of you there!
Patient Women

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Moderating a Panel on "Metrical Illiteracy" at AWP16 in LA

I was delighted to learn that my proposal, "Endangered Music: Formal Poetry in the 21st Century," has been accepted to AWP 16's program in LA.  The all-star panel includes Annie Finch, Timothy Steele, Amanda Johnston, and Dean Kostos.  Our topic follows.

What are the consequences of what Brad Leithauser has termed the "metrical illiteracy" of contemporary poetry in the U.S.? Poetry readership here has diminished, in contrast to the vitality of poetry in countries where formal poetry is strong. Offering controversial views from a now minority aesthetic, panelists will discuss why basic knowledge of metrical analysis and prosody has waned and why accentual forms such as spoken word are popular.  We will demonstrate the essential role of music in poetry today and as a tool vital to understanding poetry of the past.

If you are in LA next AWP, I invite you to join us.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Evan Myquest's Review of My New Novel, Patient Women

Evan Myquest's review of my new novel, Patient Women (thank you, Evan!)
I thought this book looked me in the eye and dared me to keep up. There are times I wished Ms. Shmailo was a less gifted storyteller as her protagonist Nora's turbulent history accumulated detail by detail, a brick by brick walling in of her life. With a symphonic score-like style complete with spiraling themes and backtracking recapitulations (a tiny mercy in case the reader lost pace), there is no doubt a master is at work. There is even an appendix of brilliant poetry that becomes a jazzband distillation, a coda, of the generational storylines. If you have read Ms. Shmailo before, this is everything you have waited for in a novel by her. And so much more.
Larissa Shmailo’s Patient Women tells the story of Nora, a gifted young woman who comes of age in New York against heavy odds. Her Russian mother is demanding; the young men around her are uncaring; and her dependence on drink and sex...
amazon.com

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rant Alert: Abraham Hicks

Rant alert: Is there something about people who can speak volubly in long impassioned spurts that is attractive? I am listening to Abraham Hicks, the teacher of the well-loved Louise Hay, and he/she/it orates that way, as Hitler did (Abraham is an non-corporeal energy being, channeled by a woman called Ester). In essence, Abraham advises that you seek your bliss and vibrate at that "frequency" to manifest everything you want, which is being stored up for you in a personal "vortex." You must always remain on a "high disc." Helping others, quoth this rather Ayn Randian alien, causes you to leave the "high flying disc" and you must seek to "inspire" others rather than lend a hand.

I love Louise Hay and much this Abraham says has merit. But both suggest constant positive emotion. If a situation is bad, then affirm it is good. A belief in a negative government, says Louise, perpetuates said; affirm the Tea Party is loving and honorable. Don't watch the news, Abraham and Louise advise, even as armed militias are walking our streets. Let the enormous yachts and conspicuous consumption of the wealthy give you pleasure; if you don't admire the rich, you might not become one of them. Don't look at statistics about poverty, and don't be codependent and slip from your high disc by wondering how many meals-on-wheels the wealth in that yacht might buy.

I like positive thinking as much as the next poet, but constant meditation on unreal thoughts, saying what is bad is good, is Orwellian doublethink, doublespeak. And it may be in the better interest of some of us to help one another than lose ourselves in atomizing and alienating new age philosophies. I am not saying that Louise Hay and Abraham are tools of the powers that be, but they are a great help to them.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

My novel, Patient Women, is up on Amazon!



Buy Patient Women


Larissa Shmailo’s Patient Women tells the story of Nora, a gifted young woman who comes of age in New York against heavy odds. Her Russian mother is demanding; the young men around her are uncaring; and her dependence on drink and sex leads her to a shadowy life filled with self-made demons. Yet Nora’s intelligence pulls her through the difficult times—there are even moments of (very) dark humor here. As well, an appendix of poems attributed to Nora lets us into the corners of her heart and mind.
—Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Haywire


Larissa Shmailo’s novel, Patient Women (and the title is absolutely meaningful, in so many ways), is a brutally honest wrestling match of truth-telling and sex. I had to put this book down and walk away from it more than once; it was a bit like holding a hot coal in my hands. And even though the subject matter is over the top, the writing is stylistically brilliant. Absolutely recommended!
—Ron Kolm, author of Suburban Ambush and editor, Evergreen Review


Larissa Shmailo's Patient Women explores the intersection of mind and body, posing several compelling philosophical questions to the reader: Is gender biological or do we inscribe these social categories through our use of language? Is it possible to separate one's intellect from one's physical being? To what extent is language itself tactile and embodied? As Shmailo teases out possible answers to these questions, she utilizes a variety of literary forms, which include diary entries, appendices, poems, and vignettes. Formally adventurous and engaging, Shmailo's book is as artfully written as it is thought provoking, offering us stylistic innovation that is both daring and meaningful.
—Kristina Marie Darling, author of Scorched Altar: Selected Poems & Stories 2007-2014.


Christ-figures are likely to be cross-dressers in this engaging bildungsroman, which takes us on a wild ride through NYC nightclubs of the 1970's, rock-bottom blackouts, a whorehouse, and the slogan-filled rooms of recovery. Surreal and lyrical, then bawdy and riotous, then plainspoken and tragic, Patient Women had me rooting hard for its lovable, drowning heroine to keep her head above water and let in grace.
— Anne Elliott, www.AnneElliottStories.com


Nora, born to a holocaust survivor mother, finds herself, at the threshold of adolescence in “boring Queens”. Lying about her age, her first transgression from her mother’s iron rule, she begins a series of ill-fated attempts to put distance between herself and the familial web she so desperately wants to disentangle from. She reels from one dysfunctional relationship to another, druggies, pimps, losers and masochists, searching for her lovable self. This novel unfolds in a whirlwind that is sometimes dream, sometimes nightmare yet, at it’s core, is an honest tale of one woman’s coming to terms with her past in order to claim her present. Be ready to have your heart broken and then made whole.
—Bonny Finberg, author of Kali’s Day


Larissa Shmailo’s newest work, Patient Women, is an unflinching exploration of the lasting damage some people can inflict on their children. Nora, Shmailo’s protagonist, evolves as she struggles to understand and heal her own self-hatred and her on-going self-destructive choices. Slogging one's way through a morass of denial and repression is a strong trope throughout this raw, honest book. Nora is fiercely vulnerable and the sympathetic hero of her own salvation. This novel is dark, but there is hope that even the pain one lives through can cause one to create, finally, lasting and beautiful art.
—Joani Reese, author of Dead Letters (Cervena Barva Press) and Night Chorus, forthcoming from Lit Fest Press

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Happy Bloomsday! Ulysses Erasure Poems


ERASURE, ULYSSES EPISODE FIVE: "THE LOTUS EATERS"

BY LORRIES ALONG SIR JOHN ROGERSON'S QUAY
past Nichols' the undertaker's. Eleven, daresay.

Sent his right hand with slow grace over his hair:  
Where was the chap I saw in that picture somewhere?  
Ah, in the dead sea, floating on his back; 
It's a law like that. Curriculum. Crack.
It's the force of gravity of the earth is the weight.
Per second, per second. Postoffice. Too late.

Eleven, is it? I only heard it last night.
What's wrong with him? Dead. And, he filled up, all right.

Chloroform. Laudanum. Sleeping draughts. Phlegm.
Better leave him the paper and get shut of him.

 

Bloomsday poem #2:
ERASURE, ULYSSES EPISODE 1O: THE WANDERING ROCKS

Legs shot off by cannon balls,
Ending their days in some pauper ward;
If I had served my God as I had my king,
It was probable he would certainly call.

Pilate, old back that owlin mob; but one

should be charitable, according to their lights
 
Unfortunate, people to die unprepared, 
Excessive for a journey so short and cheap.
A thousand casualties. And heartrending scenes.
Human eyes: pleading. Sanktus! Amen.