Tag Archives: Pulp Literature Issue 21

Throwback Thursday: Evelyn Lau

Every Thursday for the next few months, we’ll be taking a peek back in time to look at authors and stories from past issues.  And during the week they’re featured, you, dear reader, can pick up the issue at the author price of 25% off! This Thursday,  we head back to the opening pages of Issue 21, Winter 2019, with …

Evelyn Lau

Evelyn has the distinction of being both an author and a poet, but for the pages of Pulp Literature Issue 21, she pulled on her credentials as Vancouver’s Poet Laureate (2011-2014) and offered three poems riddled with grief and stolen moments. Daniel Cowper, our poetry editor, gained insight into Evelyn’s process, feelings, and appraisal of poetry through a brief interview, published in Issue 21.

Interview by Daniel Cowper

Daniel Cowper: Do you like to write on paper or directly in electronic format? What kind of paper do you like to use? How much do you care about the material tools of writing?

Evelyn Lau: First drafts always have to be written by hand. I’m not fussy about paper, usually it’s the blank side of a stack of bills, student poems, and correspondence that would otherwise go into recycling. I still can’t imagine composing poetry on a screen, but the computer is useful for editing the numerous drafts that follow. Material tools aren’t so important, but silence and solitude are.

DC: Richard Wilbur commented that poetry is always in danger of cocooning itself, and that to be worth its salt, it needs to be continually bashing itself against real things. What do you think about that dictum? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

EL: Hmm … thumbs sideways? I both agree and disagree. Just being alive means constantly bashing ourselves against things, even if you’re cocooned in your tiny apartment. You can hardly escape the news, the intrusion of people who need you, the haunting of past experiences. I think a poem that is purely personal and interior, or meditative and serene, is just as valid as one that engages with the noisy headlines.

DC: The language and narration in ‘Forest Edge’ feels incredibly accurate and honest to me, although I have no idea how it relates to anyone’s true biography. To me, the emotional accuracy makes it a true story, whether or not it is based on real-life events. Do you think it is easier to write such a persuasive poem about true or imagined facts?

EL: Yes, emotional accuracy is always what I am seeking, both as a reader and a writer.
This poem was based on a true experience, but of course that didn’t make it necessarily “easier” to write. Perhaps harder! Of course, emotion is easier to access when it’s in your own life; the challenge is to convey that intensity of feeling without hitting the reader over the head with it.

DC: Throughout these poems, the alien makes incursions into the ordinary, to great effect. For example, in ‘Forest Edge’, you describe the subject of the poem as being overtaken by a metaphorical sandstorm in the Ontario countryside, and you make the reader feel that sandstorm of grief. Do you intend incursions like that as surprises, or is the surprise a side effect of the emotionally apt image?

EL: I like to be surprised by images and metaphors, so I stretch for those moments in my own writing. The difficult balance is finding metaphors that aren’t completely outlandish but still feel original in some way.

DC: In your poem ‘Once Upon a Time’, a bear captures a child, intending to eat it, but instead adopts the child. What is it that appeals to you about the ambiguity of a story that can be described either as “he had saved her or snatched her?”

EL: When you are taken from your own family, or choose to leave of your own accord, are you being saved or destroyed? Perhaps this is something I’ve struggled with subconsciously, as I’ve been estranged from my own family since running away at fourteen. Of course this changed the trajectory of my life; it felt necessary for my survival, but it has also had many lasting negative repercussions.

DC: The final image of ‘Once Upon a Time’, the remembrance of the bear’s mouth opening to eat the child, feels gorgeous and oddly tender. What do you think can transmute a threat to tenderness in recollection? Is nostalgia enough, or is more than that needed? Is a kind of forgetting at work?

EL: I like ambiguity, and the idea that no experience is ever entirely one thing or another, but shaded. There is also comfort in the familiar, no matter how awful or lacking. I never realized the role of nostalgia in my work until it was pointed out to me; maybe a preoccupation with one’s past always holds an element of nostalgia?

DC: All three of these poems are, to some degree, centred on the weight of the past. “It isn’t even past,” Faulkner says, and these poems seem to prove him right. Do you think there is a meaningful distinction between being oriented to the past, the present, or the future? How do you think those three temporal orientations, so far as they are meaningful, relate to your work?

EL: I’m drawn to the fluidity of time, the concept that it’s all one day. Too often, we either replicate or repudiate the past in our present relationships, our daily decisions.

DC: Lightning round: In ten words or less, what do you think about the relationship between good prose and good poetry?

EL: Ideally, both will have breathtaking lines and lasting emotional impact.

Read Evelyn’s stunning poems ‘Gone’, ‘Forest Edge’, and ‘Once Upon a Time’ in Pulp Literature Issue 21, Winter 2019 at the author price of 25% off.

Issue 21, Winter 2019

$15 11.25 print
$5  3.75 digital

Or subscribe now and get four new issues delivered to your doorstep during the next twelve months.  That’s over 800 pages of fabulous fiction for your reading delight throughout the year!

Throwback Thursday: Frost and Snow

Every Thursday for the next few months, we’ll be taking a peek back in time to look at authors and stories from past issues.  And during the week they’re featured, you, dear reader, can pick up the issue at the author price of 25% off! This Thursday, take in Frost and Snow, the cover painting for Issue 21, Winter 2019.

Melissa Mary Duncan

Fantasy artist and illustrator Melissa Mary Duncan lives in New Westminster, BC, with her husband, author dvs Duncan. An avid historic re-enactor, neo-Edwardian, and wishful thinker, Melissa has a passion for life, learning, and the creative process. She has had numerous solo exhibitions and her art has found homes in private collections from Japan to Great Britain. Her book, Faye—the Art of Melissa Mary Duncan, was released in 2013 and is available for sale through her website . Melissa was our first cover artist. Her paintings The Beer Fairy, Fondly Remembered Magic, and The Storyteller have graced the covers of Pulp Literature and she is the cover artist for Allaigna’s Song: Overture and the forthcoming Allaigna’s Song: Aria from Pulp Literature Press as well. Find more of her beautiful paintings at melissamaryduncan.com.

Frost and Snow by Melissa Mary Duncan
Frost and Snow by Melissa Mary Duncan

Issue 12 cover by Melissa Mary Duncan






Pulp Literature Advent Calendar ~ 21 December

There are only four days left in our Advent Calendar — don’t miss out!  When you purchase an issue on its corresponding day on our Advent Calendar, not only will you be collecting great literature, but you will also receive a special gift.

Today is the Winter Solstice and the twenty-first day of Advent.  The issue that holds the secret prize is Issue 21, Winter 2019

  • Under the exquisite cover Frost and Snow by Melissa Mary Duncan
  • Our featured author, the esteemed Evelyn Lau, offers three poems riddled with grief and stolen moments.
  • Spencer Stevens takes a break from the front lines in the final Seven Swans instalment, ‘The Mystery of the Forgotten Soldier’, by Mel Anastasiou.
  • Echo wanes as Narcissus waxes in Joelle Kidd’s modern retelling, ‘Echo/Narcissus’; while a Pythia of Apollo unweaves 25 years’ worth of lies in ‘The Golden Feather’ by Jenny Blackford.
  • Space isn’t exactly lawless, but everyone bends the rules in Margot Spronk’s ‘Rules of Salvage’; and on the other end of the SF spectrum, Graham Darling’s ‘A Pleasant Walk, A Pleasant Talk’ neatly turns a Lewis Carroll poem on its head.
  • A seemingly useless power feeds a young woman’s resentment in Emily Lonie’s ‘A Seed in Every Womb’, and Michael Bracken’s ‘The Fishmonger’s Wife’ explores the dangers of dry land for mermen.
  • Search for the perfect stone in ‘Stonecold’ from Leslie Wibberly, the 2018 Creative Ink Festival’s flash fiction contest winner.
  • Explore new mythologies in Nicholas Christian’s ‘The Angler’, winner of the 2018 Hummingbird Prize for Flash Fiction; and the runner-up by Robert Runté, ‘Day Three’, examines the little things we miss the most.
  • Allaigna falls in with a new crowd in the latest installment of Aria by JM Landels, and a carnival fortune-teller shares valuable tricks of the trade in ‘Madame Sylvie’s Three Rules for How to Speak for the Dead’ by Susan Pieters.
  • And finally, find out what very old aristocrats do when they let get unlaced in Kris Sayer’s sequential short ‘Under Pale Flesh’
Shop for this issue and other great reads in our bookstore

A daily email countdown

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The Mega-Deal

And if fear of missing out has you worried, we have a super offer for you:  buy our complete six-year collection in print or digital form at any point during the 24 days before Christmas, and you’ll receive all the bonus gifts!

Sign up for our Advent Calendar here, and explore back issues of the magazine here.

Celebrating 5 Years of Literary Magic

In the publishing game, five years is significant, and we know who to thank: our authors, artists, and loyal readers who make it all possible. Join us on Sunday, December 16th, at our Literary Launch and Swordfighting Salon for a civilized afternoon of author readings, an artisan craft fair, tea and pastries, book sales & signings … and swordfighting!

Literary Launch & Swordfighting Salon

This event is a co-fundraiser for Academie Duello’s Youth Outreach Program and Pulp Literature Press.  It is also the launch party for our five year anniversary issue—Number 21— featuring Evelyn Lau. There will be readings from JJ Lee, Matt Hughes, Emily Lonie, Mitchell Toews, Graham DarlingMargot Spronk, Laura Kostur, Greg Brown, Patrick Bollivar, Jessica Fabrizius, Susan Pieters, and JM Landels.

Take a breather from the holiday rush to enjoy readings from local authors, swordplay demonstrations by Academie Duello and ample time to chat with authors, drink tea, and scoop up last minute stocking stuffers by our talented artisans.

We’d love to see you there!

Literary Launch and Swordfighting Salon
Sunday 16 Dec 2018, 11am – 5pm
Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay
412 West Hastings St, Vancouver