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The Emma Press





Pilgrim is a collection of poems by Lisabelle Tay, illustrated by Reena Makwana.

Part of The Emma Press Art Squares series.

“A half-cracked shell


Morning and evening


White dew on the underside of a leaf


A gasp of air, something forgotten

now remembered


A bare kernel of deathlessness

sown silently at dusk”


– ‘List of Things Beyond My Bedroom Curtains’, in Pilgrim

Page count: 36

Publication date: 14 October 2021

Paperback ISBN: 9781912915859

Lisabelle Tay

Lisabelle Tay writes poetry and fiction, often with a speculative bent. After completing her studies in English Literature at King’s College London, she returned to Singapore, where she now lives. Her story Surat Dari Hantu placed first in the 2020 Dream Foundry short story contest. 'Pilgrim' is her debut poetry pamphlet.


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.

About the illustrator

Reena Makwana is a London-based illustrator creating illustrations using drawings, embroidery and print. Her work is influenced by the city, characters, creatures, social past and present. She has produced work for clients including Vittles, Pit Magazine, Endeavour Agency, Lecker, Big Family Press, OOMK and At The Table. Visit her website here:

Praise for Pilgrim

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

‘Reading Pilgrim was not like reading your average poetry pamphlet […]. The (reading) adventure continues. I am disorientated. And what I enjoy in that sensation is the pleasure of experiencing something different.’ Charlotte Gann, Sphinx Review

Additional information

Dimensions 200 × 3 × 200 cm

Print, eBook

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