Thursday, December 31, 2015

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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Star by Joseph Brodsky

Christmas Star
by Joseph Brodsky
Tr. L. Shmailo
In a cold time, in a place accustomed more
To 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 clouds
Upon the recumbent child in the manger, through the night’s haze
From the depths of the universe, from its end and bound,
A star watched over the cave. And that was the Father’s gaze.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reading for Seattle AWP 2014 for Madhat and Fulcrum

Reading of my poems "In Paran," "Bloom," "Father of a Ghost (after Stephen Dedalus's Theory of Hamlet), and "Letter to Lermontov." Video by Jonathan Penton
Madhat/Fulcrum Seattle 2014 AWP reading

Saturday, December 12, 2015


"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

Recording of my poem with footnotes, "Phylum"

A recording of my poem, "Phylum," for Indiefeed Performance Poetry and the Performance Poetry Preservation Project led by Wess Mongo Jolley.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

A vid of my New Orleans reading on the Unlikely Saints tour

Reading in my red New Orleans hat!

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.

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