Gold Friend by Chris Murray: the title is often the last piece of the jigsaw (Irish Times)

This is an excerpt from a reflection on Gold Friend published online in the Irish Times (16/09/2020). Thanks very much to Martin Doyle who offered me the space to write about the book and about Poethead.

…The convergence of influence and imagery that is inherent in Gold Friend began at Drimnagh Castle and works from there into other places and into other books too. The gold friend is both a literary device and an absent person who acts as a passive receptor of knowledge. The gold friend is disembodied, and cannot access the sensory world, or experience it as we do,


Be near enough to the periphery
to discern the wing-settle-sounds
small birds make in thickets,
                                   their halls –
Near enough for red to insist
that you regard it as haw,
Know, bird-panic sounds
differently to wing-settle’s
soft-rest after the flurry of
                            – they say

All the books that a poet writes are interconnected in some way. Gold Friend is connected very much to bind. It comes very soon after the publication of bind because many of the poems were written at the same time as that book. Bind had a thematic thrust that rejected some of the more light-filled poems that inhabit Gold Friend, but they share certain commonalities like the prevalence of the non-human world, the use of a very limited colour palette, and the simple joy of just being in or of this increasingly complex world. Shared themes include necessity, the necessity for description, the non-human, and mythos.

You can read more from the reflection here. I have added a link to the launch video below this brief post.


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