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\"Shmailo reads with so much intensity, intonation, energy, in velvety and sensual voice, that to not hear this would be a missed experience....Shmailo is intense. She can shock, she can tickle, she can entrance. Shmailo poetizes devils with the same skill as she weaves words around God and Magdalene. Her poetry is as lushly sensual as it is cutting to the bone. This is about love and pain, birth and rebirth, fields of magnolias, and surviving the Warsaw ghetto... The slap of shock is appropriate. This is not merely strong performance, it is also strong in substance.\"---Zinta Aistars, The Smoking Poet
\"Larissa Shmailo does not think small. On Exorcism, she is trying to do nothing less than exorcise the demons of human evil...While this is the overarching theme of the Exorcism (and it is, for the most part, a powerful and effective theme), it is not all that is going on on this CD. There are a number of individually powerful poems here, such as “The Gospel According to Magdalene,” “Bloom,” and “Abortion Hallucination.” They all fit, some tightly, some loosely, into the larger theme, but also stand well on their own.
---G. Murray Thomas, Poetix
\"The whole CD digs...bringing forth fiery, unorthodox, visceral imagery of the Devil and Magdalena, lovers and torturers and survivors. [Shmailo] crafts breath, rhythm, and rhyme, with a relaxed and dancerly demeanor and natural authority. Highly recommended.\" ---Anne Elliott, Ass Backwords
\"Exorcism, Larissa Shmailo\'s second poetry CD, displays the remarkable range and electrifying vitality that have won her admirers worldwide. Following fast on the release of The No-Net World, Larissa Shmailo returns to her deepest poetic origins, and from there, reveals an ascendancy that will mystify and astound.
Begin your Exorcism. Take hold of the promise in “Vow.” It’s yours. It asks you to join the “people who fought and won” in “Warsaw Ghetto,” where you’ll find your singing strength. The witty and defiant “Dancing with the Devil” leads you to learn “How to Meet and Dance with Your Death.” This fiery and original narrative is fit only for real explorers. Heed the admonitions to avert unnecessary demons, see the sweaty face of your own Reaper, and know \"after that, you will never fear him again, nor seek him.\" The hauntingly seductive puissance in “He follows her . . .” yields to a caboodle of ghosts surveying a ghostly city in Shmailo’s sparkling translation of “Dante” by Anna Ahkmatova.
As illusions of death wane, you will feel the pleasure and pain of “My First Hurricane.” Then get “Personal” with longing for knowledge of the beloved. Power returns in the gorgeous “The Gospel According to Magdalene,” a manifesto of might, whose structural elements are slyly subverted by sampling. Get under the tongue-in-cheek “Skin,” a grunge hymn, and emerge somewhere on “Catawissa Road,” where a skewering Penelope grudgingly meshes with a mad Odysseus. Overcome distaste for arid wastes when “Ayah” asks why a surplus of sand covers everything bland.
The still center is “Bhakti,” Shmailo’s homage to tenth-century mystic poet Mahadevi-Akka, who worshiped the \"Lord White as Jasmine,\" a destroyer of illusions who offers salvation repeatedly, from world to world. The savage art song, “Bloom” invokes Colette, Sand, and James Joyce and the lives of working women throughout the ages.
You may be well schooled by the “Rules of Reflection,” yet there are perils ahead. This is, after all, an exorcism. A demonic maternal phantasmagoria scolds in “At the Top of My Lungs,” twisting its enigmatic wreath of fears and death. But hold your tears—and your breath—for “Abortion Hallucination,” a lyric hell of loss and blackest light. Survive its strife. Let “New Life 2” bring you back to life. Shmailo’s imaginative and noetic variation on a theme by Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky sifts for signification in catastrophe, inspired by escaping the great trapping fire of war. For more to scale, there’s “Mapping” and, with urbane wit, finding “a use for all that doesn’t fit.”
Engage interior doom and sacred terrain in “Exorcism,” a syncretic chant, part found-poem, part puzzle, part indictment, and part prayer for social justice. If you want, you can fly full circle to “Vow.” Play that first track again, and you have drawn a perfect circle—that hardest of artist’s tasks—accomplished by this poet of intense musical, imaginative, and thematic variety. Possess yourself. Repeat as needed. You stand on holy ground.\" - Eric Yost