Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Larissa Shmailo : part one

Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, translator, editor, writing coach, and critic. Shmailo's most recent novel is Sly Bang (Spuyten Duyvil); her most recent poetry collection is Medusa’s Country (MadHat). A new collection, Dora/Lora, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Shmailo’s poetry albums are The No-Net World and Exorcism, for which she won the New Century Best Spoken Word Album award.  Shmailo is the original English translator of Victory over the Sun performed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Garage Museum of Moscow, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Shmailo also edited the anthology Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry (Big Bridge Press). Shmailo leads the workshop Writing Resilience for people affected by trauma, addiction, and/or mental illness. For more about Shmailo, see her website at and Wikipedia at

What are you working on?

I am leading a workshop called "Writing Resilience" for writers affected by trauma, addiction, and/or mental illness.  We write our stories to empower ourselves and increase coping and resilience. The workshop has been called "wonderful," "one of the best $99 I ever spent,” useful and motivating" and "generated a lot of good work."

Participants have said:

"Larissa Shmailo is a true warrior of the written/spoken word, as her life and work ignites her. What an honor to be one of her students! Her class is generative and I produced some pieces that were published quickly. We did in-class exercises and read our work aloud. Got excellent feedback from her, as well as the other students. If you get a chance to take Shmailo’s class, jump on it. She is a gift to the writing community. WOW!"

—Meg Tuite, author of five short story collections, two poetry collections, and published in numerous literary magazines, as well as anthologies.

“This course created the space and structure in my life to make writing a regular part of my day. Larissa’s excellent exercises and insightful feedback served as the basis for rich class discussions and workshops. I felt connected to my classmates and found myself feeling at home among them— a rare treasure for such a compact time frame and over Zoom. I would highly recommend this course to any writer who wants to get back on track but is struggling to enact this desire day to day.” 

— Anna Fridlis, Writing Instructor, Parsons

“Larissa Shmailo is astute, discerning, and perceptive . . . Larissa brings to the workshop the rare capacity of true interest in the work and the lives of her students.  She affirms the writing in a way that demonstrates understanding of the content - through specificity and authentic reaction to the piece. This class allows the processing of personal trauma while also freeing it in the direction of publication. One is left realizing that the world does want to hear your story. “

— Sandra Kleven, publisher, Cirque

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