Feature: “Pilgrim” by Lisabelle Tay

Release Date: October 3, 2021
Publisher: The Emma Press
Genre: Poetry, Young Adult


In her debut pamphlet, Lisabelle Tay leads the reader down through the underworlds of illness, motherhood and family histories. Lighting the way with her luminescent poems, the poet draws on Celtic, Classical and Chinese mythologies, appealing to the selkie, Eurydice, and Chang’e in turn as she seeks a path through the darkness – and back to the light.

Pilgrim depicts a journey and a return, moving from the expansive and mythological to the inward and personal. The pilgrim who left is not the pilgrim who returns…

Illustrated by Reena Makwana and gorgeously printed in monocolour risograph at The Holodeck, this is not a collection to be missed.


Pilgrim is an epic quest filled with atmospheric revisionings of myths, folklore, and the Bible, and flashes of domestic bliss and terror. Tay is an arresting new voice and you will find something of wonder on every page.’ – Christine Chia, author of The Law of Second Marriages and Separation: a history

‘There is a space between the mythic and the mundane that calls to us, full of half-remembered tales, warnings, allusions. Lisabelle’s ethereal poems – less written than whispered – transport us there, allowing a ‘quickening prickle of revelation’ to build. ‘This too,’ she writes, ‘is a kind of pilgrimage’.’ – Theophilus Kwek, author of Moving House


Order from Emma Press, Waterstones, or Book Depository.

About the author

Lisabelle Tay writes poetry and short fiction, often with a speculative bent. Her work appears in Augur, Fantasy, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. After completing her studies in English Literature at King’s College London, she returned to Singapore to teach, but has since retired from teaching due to illness. She lives in Singapore with her husband and son, and enjoys printmaking in her spare time.

Twitter: @LisabelleTay

Instagram: @lisabelletay

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