Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Career Narrative

Larissa Shmailo is the editor-in-chief of the anthology Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry (featured on the Poetry Foundation's Harriet, Voice of Russia, and Russia Beyond the Headlines), poetry editor for MadHat Annual, and founder of The Feminist Poets in Low-Cut Blouses. She translated Victory over the Sun for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art landmark reconstruction of the multimedia avant-garde opera and has been a translator on the Bible in Russia for the Eugene A. Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society. Larissa has studied poetry and translation with Annie Finch, Bob Holman, and Pierre Joris. Her studies in prosody, metrics, and scansion are recorded and published by Annie Finch on her websites. Larissa has published critical work on Elaine Equi and Philip Nikolayev.

Larissa's translation of the Russian opera Victory over the Sun by A. Kruchenych will be part of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art's retrospective of Russia performative art, Russian Performance: A Cartography of Its History. The libretto of this opera is included in collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Hirsshorn Museum, the Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and others. The opera has been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, CalArts, and internationally. This translation is taught at universities nationwide. The print publication of this libretto with an introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky is pending by Červená Barva Press. The translation is currently featured on the Brooklyn Rail InTranslation site at

Larissa's work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Random House anthology of metrical verse Measure for Measure, the Penguin anthology Words for the Wedding, Plume, The St. Petersburg Review, Jacket, Jacket2, The Battersea Review, Gargoyle, Barrow Street, Drunken Boat, Fulcrum, The Unbearables Big Book of Sex, Contemporary Russian Poetry, Rattapallax, About:, and hundreds of journals, zines, websites, blogs, and other media/publications. Her poetry has been included in 50 anthologies. Larissa's poetry books are #specialcharacters (Unlikely Books), (BlazeVOX [books]), A Cure for Suicide (Cervena Barva Press), Fib Sequence (Argotist Ebooks). Her poetry CDs are The No-Net World and Exorcism.

Larissa’s work is archived at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirsshorn Museum of the Smithsonian, and eight universities. She received honorable mention in the Compass Award for Russian literary translation in 2011, the Elizabeth P. Braddock poetry prize in 2012, and the Goodreads May 2012 poetry contest; she was a finalist in the Glass Woman prose prize in 2012. Larissa also received the New Century Music awards for best spoken word with rock, jazz, and electronica in 2009, as well as the best album award for Exorcism. She received Critic’s Pick notices from Time Out Magazine for her reading series Sliding Scale Poetry and Critic’s Pick, The New York Press, for “Deconstructing Education,” The New School in 1996. She was a Radio Highlight, New York Times, for “Madwoman,” Teachers and Writers Collaborative Radio in 1996.

Larissa also translated the Bibliography of the Translations of the Bible in the Languages of the Russian Federation, Commonwealth of Independent States, and Baltic States, by Dr. Boris Arapovic for the Nida Institute on Biblical Scholarship’s History of Bible Translation series (of the American Bible Society; publication pending. Her translations of Yuri Arabov and Anya Logvinova appear in Contemporary Russian Poetry (Dalkey Archive Press); funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, 2007. She received honorable mention in the Compass Award for literary translation, 2011 sponsored by Princeton, Georgetown, and Montclair State Universities, Cardinal Points Journal, and other institutions.

Larissa has read at the Knitting Factory, Barnard College, the New School, New York University, the Langston Hughes residence, the Bowery Poetry Club, and for American Express/Share Our Strength. Her work has been heard on PennSound Radio, New York Board of Education radio, Teachers and Writers Collaborative radio, Columbia University radio, WBAI, Indiefeed Performance Poetry, and many other broadcasts. She is founder of The Feminist Poets in Low-Cut Blouses poetry group, curator of the Sliding Scale Poetry Reading Series, and a member of the Unbearables and Otherstream literary groups. She has organized and performed in poetry benefits on behalf of human services and literacy organizations, including The Bread and Life Soup Kitchen, Girls Write Now, and the New York City Poetry Calendar. She is the former director of TWiN East Coast, an international Internet network of poets. She has been a curator of the Spirit of Howl! Festival, a spokesperson for NEA funding, and a member of the advisory Board of the NYC Poetry Calendar.

Critical Commentary
I see [Shmailo's] work as a continuum in a long tradition of radical writing practices from Futurism, to Dada, to Oulipo, to Pussy Riot. Read it when you wish to be empowered. Read it when you wish to be entertained. Read it to rid yourself of the precious and polite.
—Elaine Equi

Larissa is constitutionally predetermined to sing out in her lines. The notes stick in your head. She hails from all over the place and brings a unique poetic worldview, her eyes filled with life and love, pain and death, freedom and coercion, the real of the mind and the imagined of the heart. . .When it comes to capturing the intimacy of pain, Larissa Shmailo is among the most daring poets of her generation. When speaking of human rights, she is a human flame. She is subtle and provocative, fresh and out of bounds. You will fall in love here, and you will be loved right back.
—Philip Nikolayev

Her poems, alive with discomfort and broken pieces, teach an art of compassion without illusion.
— Robert Viscusi

In a sea of mimics, this poet is an original voice.
—Doug Holder

Shmailo has managed to split language into its common & least common denominators/principles: sound, meaning, symbol, feeling (text/ure) as well as providing us with a range of voices from child to adult & male to female within a range of styles & mannerisms from the ultra-experimental to quirky ―innocent‖ rhymes like her sexy riff on ―the 12 days of Christmas‖ in her classic ―The Other Woman’s Cunt.‖ Her knowledge of the ―WORD‖ & how to use it extends from darkly humorous to warm, lyrical, tender & painful . . .
—Steve Dalachinsky

Shmailo's poetry sucked me into/out of its golden spiral.
—Moira Richards, Cape Times (South Africa)

"MIRROR, or a Flash in the Pan" . . . is very close to fiction, although it certainly has passages of poetry. It's an excellent piece, crystal clear and shockingly honest . . .Shmailo's most famous (popular?) poem . . . "The Other Woman's Cunt". . . is angry, raunchy, vicious and by the way! hilarious. There is a fair amount of typographical experimentation and deep connections to literature and mythology, but at its heart, as a whole, the [work] has the remarkable quality of being extremely moving even when you aren't sure what's going on.
—Meredith Sue Willis, Books for Readers

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