Chris Murray is a poet, web developer, and a graduate of Art History and English Literature at UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy. She qualified and has worked as a conservation stone cutter with the Office of Public Works/Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland. Her restoration stonework is largely architectural. She worked in Counties Limerick and Kerry and was based at Ross Castle at Loch Lein (Killarney, Co. Kerry) and in Ardfert Cathedral among other places. She is primarily a page poet but has written poetry for vocal performance. Her ‘Lament for Three Women’s Voices‘ was performed at The Béal Festival of New Music and Poetry (Smock Alley Theatre, 2012). Her most recent book publications are, “A Hierarchy of Halls” (Smithereens Press) & “bind” (Turas Press) both 2018.
Chris is currently curating papers and journal articles related to Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon at RASCAL (Research and Special Collections Available Locally- QUB). Journal articles, online resources, and documentation related to the institution of Fired! are now available via this link.
A small collection of interrelated poems in series and sequence Cycles was published by Lapwing Press (2013). A book-length poem The Blind was published by Oneiros Books (2013). Her second book-length poem She published by Oneiros Books (2014). And Agamemnon Dead; an alternative collection of Irish poetry. edited by Peter O’Neill and Walter Ruhlmann (2015). “A Modern Encounter with ‘Foebus abierat’: On Eavan Boland’s “Phoebus Was Gone, all Gone, His Journey Over” in Eavan Boland: Inside History, published by Arlen House and edited by Nessa O’Mahony and Siobhán Campbell (2016). All The Worlds Between, Anthology, eds Srilata Krishnan and Fióna Bolger (Yoda Publishing, 2017), The Gladstone Readings, Anthology, Ed. Peter O’Neill (Famous Seamus Publishing, 2017). bind was published in October 2018.
Her poetry has been collected in And Agamemnon Dead; an alternative collection of Irish poetry. edited by Peter O’Neill and Walter Ruhlmann (2015). Tiny Moments; An Anthology (2016) Edited by David Pring-Mill. Blackjack; A Contemporary Volume of Irish Poetry (2016) published by Singur Publishing, Romania. A Transitory House; a suite of poems (2016) first performed at Ó Bheal (Co. Cork, Ireland) and based on Freda Laughton’s Now I am a Tower of Darkness published by Limerick Writer’s Centre in 1916 – 2016: An Anthology of Reactions (Edited by John Liddy & Dominic Taylor) All The Worlds Between, Anthology, eds Srilata Krishnan and Fióna Bolger (Yoda Publishing, 2017), The Gladstone Readings Anthology, Ed. Peter O’Neill (Famous Seamus Publishing, 2017)
Her individual, series and small group poems have been published in The Southword Literary Journal, Crannóg Magazine, Skylight 47, Bone Orchard Poetry, The Burning Bush II, Poetry Bus Magazine, Post II (Mater Dei Institute) (Ireland). A New Ulster Magazine and The Honest Ulsterman (Northern Ireland). York Literary Review (U.K). Caper Literary Journal, Compose Journal and Ditch Poetry (US). Her translated work appears in Levure Littéraire Magazine (Germany & International), Recours au Poème Magazine (France), Şiirden Magazine (“Of Art”, Turkey), Revisita Itaka (Romania). American women’s magazines When Women Waken Journal and WomenArts Quarterly Journal (US) have published small series and single poems from her published collections.
Interviews and Media
Irish Times (September 2019)
Faced with the catastrophic canonical neglect of Irish women poets and writers in very real terms, there are many responses. Those of interrogation, of anger, of reclamation and of healing. These responses have all occurred, are continuing to occur among women writers across literary genres.
In her article, A profound deafness to the female voice (The Irish Times, April 18th, 2018), Sinéad Gleeson examines our responses as the women who have been left to reclaim our narrative heritages. Once again, it is up to women to use their time to respond, to do the corrective work of calling out male editors, and how this eats up their creative time, steering the focus away from their own work. (Read more here…)
Each poet or academic involved has their own take, their own story, on how the absence of women has affected their work, esteem or their sense of the appalling lack in respect for the woman poet’s voice. Mine is simple, I do not want to be part of a generation of writers that did not face this and interrogate that absence. I do not want my daughter’s generation doing the work of interrogation and asking why we, now, are too lazy or complacent or afraid to question the Irish perception of poetic authority. I am not someone who feels that it is right to walk away. (Read more here)
I am a poet without a landscape, a woman poet without a narrative heritage. I began tracing the huge startling landscape of US and European women’s poetry while in college. I could not find its equivalent here in Ireland. bind reflects the facts of absence and fragmentation in my poetry landscape, and the absence of women poets in our cultural narrative. bind is a book-length poem loosely divided into chapters. These chapters act as boundaries within the action of the poem and provide gateways to differing aspects of the processes inherent in bind. The title of the book takes its name from the triple hyphenation that occurs irregularly within the first chapter. bind explores movement, objects, and colours that occur in a no-place, a stasis, the fragmented landscape,
‘I am a poet without a landscape, a woman poet without a narrative heritage’, a reflection on bind at The Irish Times
Peter O’Neill on She and Cycles at Live Encounters
In She Christine Murray takes a figure from ancient Irish mythology the Sí, as in the shee in Banshee for example, who are powerful feminine forces in pre-Christian Irish folklore, taking on the many guises. In Murray’s She they are represented by the Crow Woman, symbolised by a black feather. And it is with this singular image, of a black crow’s feather, that Murray enters the text
A black feather
She has spread
Lace their moons with trawling nets
Bird-pecked crabbed and sweet apple
Roll them into grass
Black feather sways down
(Read the full review here)
Bangor Literary Journal
Interview and poems at The Bangor Literary Journal [PDF]
About Poethead, An interview about the foundation and development of Poethead at Lagan Online
I saw an opportunity to create a space for sharing poetry and poetry translations online some nine years ago. I did not envisage that it would be a long term project at all. I view Poethead as my blog primarily, there just happen to be three indices built into it where I have listed contemporary, translated, experimental and ‘hidden’ poetry. I rarely solicit work from poets, mostly they contact me. In some cases I have had to contact poetry editors for copyright permission. There is always quite an amount of correspondence in my email. As I only publish weekly, in as much as I can. The publication list is rolling (ongoing). (Read more here)
The Pan Review
I read everything by Plath, and moved on rapidly to (Anne) Sexton, Ní Dhomhnaill, Boland, Mina Loy, and H.D. I educated myself in the UCD library and from there began a lifetime of searching for a quality of voice that I felt as ‘absence’. I began to read translated works also including Nagy, Sachs, Tuominen, Lorca and others. When I left college I took that sound with me. I got my degree in Art History and English, although the only thing that interested me in English was Old and Middle English.
On publishing women, cultural absence and how to change things at The Pan Review
An Interview with Moyra Donaldson at Honest Ulsterman (Feb. 2019)
The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets (2017) catalysed a lot of discussion on the canon and its absences. There was a lot of talk about how we could approach this problem, which we all believe represented another iteration of a consistent problem. Each poet or academic involved has their own take, their own story, on how the absence of women has affected their work, esteem or their sense of the appalling lack in respect for the woman poet’s voice. Mine is simple, I do not want to be part of a generation of writers that did not face this and interrogate that absence. I do not want my daughter’s generation doing the work of interrogation and asking why we, now, are too lazy or complacent or afraid to question the Irish perception of poetic authority. I am not someone who feels that it is right to walk away.
(Read more here)
Issue 61, The North (January 2019)
Image © Salma Caller, 2018