Image: Salma Ahmad Caller reading beside the artwork ‘Making Den of Sibyl Wren‘. (2018) You can see some of the details from the piece at this link
This film includes a sound adaption of ‘Nocturne for Voices One and Two” by Una Lee, a talk by Salma Ahmad Caller about the art for ‘Gold Friend’ and ‘A Hierarchy of Halls’, and the art that you can see on this site every time you click in. The piece is called ‘Making Den of Sibyl Wren‘ (Salma Ahmad Caller, 2018). Thanks to Lucy Collins who asked the questions, read, and talked about the book. I did some brief readings and talked about the book too. The whole thing was designed, edited, and created by Liz McSkeane, my publisher at Turas Press.
Irish Times 13/02/2021
Closer to home, the Irish poet Chris Murray is best known for her three book-length poems, The Blind (Oneiros, 2013), She (Oneiros, 2014) and Bind (Turas Press, 2018). In this latest collection, Gold Friend (Turas, €12), also published with the independent, Dublin-based small press, Murray turns to the space of the lyric, often pared down to its bones, though never lacking in musicality or vividness.
There is something of Emily Dickinson in these poems, particularly Because I Did Not Stand Still, with Murray employing the jump between lines, and a restrained punctuation, to establish a heady free-play of images and association. (Read more here …)
Irish Times 136/09/2020
Gold Friend by Chris Murray: the title is often the last piece of the jigsaw
The poet reflects on her latest collection and the closure of her Poethead archive
In the first instance, the title derives from a phrase from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer, which I somehow managed to carry with me from my studies in Old and Middle English at UCD. The title, by itself, and as an amalgamation of the words Gold and Friend, was both appropriate to the collection and felt natural, even if finding it was stressful to begin with.
The poem image that elicited the book title is infinitely more complex and derives from what I can only describe as textural associations that are rooted very much in a “place”. The place being Drimnagh Castle where I began my work as a stonecutter.
Read more here …
07/09/2020 Elegy and Displacement in ‘Gold Friend’ – at Writing.ie
The title of my book is Gold Friend. The phrase or image associated with it is derived from an Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer which is rooted in elegy and in personal displacement. These are the themes of the book, which I will allude to a bit later on in this short essay.
Gold Friend began, as my books do, from a collection of small themed notebooks. In this case, it originally comprised five small books that were loosely thematically related according to how I compose or create the poem image.
Read more here
An independent, Dublin-based publisher dedicated to providing a platform for new and innovative writing. In Irish and Scottish Gaelic, “turas” means “journey.” Turas Press was founded in May 2017 to support writers of poetry and fiction in launching their work into the world and finding an audience.
On Gold Friend by Chris Murray
Our latest news is that Turas Press is preparing for the publication of our 2020 list. Although the physical launches of our new books won’t take place until some time in 2021 – depending on how the management of COVID 19 evolves – we will continue to publish our books and make them available online and through participating booksellers.
A new collection from Chris Murray, “Gold Friend” will be published in the autumn of 2020. This is Chris’s second collection with Turas Press – her readers will recall her beautiful ‘waking book’ bind which came out in 2018.
Gold Friend Acknowledgments
Chris Murray wishes to thank Billy Mills, Amy Wyatt Rafferty, Müesser Yeniay, Lucy Collins, Eithne Hand, Richard Krawiec, Peter O’Neill, Una Lee, and Soodabeh Saeidnia editor of ‘Persian Sugar in English Tea’. Poems from this book have been published in The Bangor Literary Journal, Levure Litteraire, HiRISE (NASA), One (Jacar Press), Persian Sugar in English Tea, Şiirden, and The Poetry Bus Magazine. A Version of Lament for a Lost Child was originally performed at the Beal Festival of New Music and Literature at the Smock Alley Theatre, with thanks to Elizabeth Hilliard and David Bremner. Nocturne For Voices One and Two was adapted by Una Lee for spoken word project Songs to stay awake to to be released in 2020.
Cover Art by Salma Ahmad Caller
The cover art for Gold Friend is a detail from ‘Making Den Of Sibyl Wren‘ (2018) by artist Salma Ahmad Caller.
Materials: Watercolour, Indian ink, collage, graphite, and gold pigment on Fabriano acid-free paper 57cm x 76.3cm. An essay on the making of the artwork is available here.
Salma Ahmad Caller is an artist and a hybrid of cultures and faiths. She is drawn to hybrid and ornamental forms, and to how the body expresses itself in the mind to create an embodied ‘image’. UK based, she was born in Iraq to an Egyptian father and a British mother and grew up in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. With a background in art history and theory, medicine and pharmacology, and several years teaching cross-cultural ways of seeing via non-Western artefacts at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, she now works as an independent artist and teacher.
Lucy Collins on “Gold Friend”
“At a time when we are grappling with multiple, related challenges – living with climate change and pandemic – these poems remind us to celebrate and care for, the natural world. Lucy Collins says this of “Gold Friend”. “As well as bearing witness to the strange beauty of the natural world, these innovative poems testify to the remarkable intensity of human perception. They deserve our closest attention.”
Lucy Collins is Associate Professor of English at University College Dublin. Books include Poetry by Women in Ireland: A Critical Anthology 1870–1970 (2012) and a monograph, Contemporary Irish Women Poets: Memory and Estrangement (2015), both from Liverpool University Press. She has published widely on contemporary poets from Ireland, Britain, and America, and is co-founder of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive, a national digital repository.
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