April 24th, 2019
In her memoir, Into the Eyes of Hungry: Growing up in the Wilds of Australia (Cadbach, 2019) Leila Kulpas recounts, in the voice of a gradually maturing child, the difficulties and traumas of her family’s 1950s hardscrabble life farming on a remote Australian plateau. Home schooled by communist parents, she learns to navigate her father’s binge drinking and her mother’s abusive rages by seeking love where she can find it and solace in the animals and nature around her. The title comes from an encounter Kulpas has with one of the family horses as a three year-old toddler. Unsupervised, the little girl wanders into a horse corral, unaware of the dangers of being trodden upon because she is drawn by the one called Hungry who belongs to her father (or the ‘Tall One’ as she remembers her father when she’s a child barely yet speaking). “Hungry rumbles hello, the long, soft-looking things on top of his head swivelling towards me. His head dips, and he sighs, gazing at me through strands of black hair, his huge brown eyes full of warmth and caring. Wanting somehow to be inside what I see in those eyes, I move closer, until the feed-bag that covers his nose is resting on my head, soft crunching sounds sliding my hair back and forth with delicious silky sensations.”
Leila Kulpas is a psychiatrist specialized in treating adults with childhood trauma using psychotherapy and minimal medications. She has a B.A. (honours Class I) degree in English for her original research on the influence of Virginia Wolf’s childhood trauma on her writing. Her prose has appeared in The Vancouver Psychoanalytic Review, a National Voices anthology, the Pacific Rim Review of Books, and daily newspapers. Her poetry has been published in chapbooks edited by Patrick Lane, an Ascent Aspirations anthology and on the internet by Pandora’s Collective.