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Petals: Poems of a War in Ukraine

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This is the story of a war. But it is also a story of human love and beauty and faith that the sun will rise again over a nation torn by terrible conflict.If a novel is like live streaming or Netflix, then poetry is a gallery of HD images taken with your iPhone or Nikon DSLR, each picture sharp and crystalline and rich with color and meaning, etched in your mind forever th This is the story of a war. But it is also a story of human love and beauty and faith that the sun will rise again over a nation torn by terrible conflict.If a novel is like live streaming or Netflix, then poetry is a gallery of HD images taken with your iPhone or Nikon DSLR, each picture sharp and crystalline and rich with color and meaning, etched in your mind forever thanks to its precision and brilliance.This is a small book of such high definition images, vivid snaps of one man's journey through the recent military conflict in Ukraine. People's faces are here, fields of flowers are here, impossibly blue skies and sharp suns, roads and streets and windows that remain perfectly intact even though the rest of the house has been blown to pieces. Love is here, and peace sits in the same room as pain, while hope has more strength than killing or death. The man's words are beautiful and true and, as real as the war he fights is, dawn and tomorrow are more real.Parts of it will tell your story. Parts of it will become your story. Parts of it will take you on a journey you never expected to take. That is the power of poetry in motion.Begin at this man's beginning.


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This is the story of a war. But it is also a story of human love and beauty and faith that the sun will rise again over a nation torn by terrible conflict.If a novel is like live streaming or Netflix, then poetry is a gallery of HD images taken with your iPhone or Nikon DSLR, each picture sharp and crystalline and rich with color and meaning, etched in your mind forever th This is the story of a war. But it is also a story of human love and beauty and faith that the sun will rise again over a nation torn by terrible conflict.If a novel is like live streaming or Netflix, then poetry is a gallery of HD images taken with your iPhone or Nikon DSLR, each picture sharp and crystalline and rich with color and meaning, etched in your mind forever thanks to its precision and brilliance.This is a small book of such high definition images, vivid snaps of one man's journey through the recent military conflict in Ukraine. People's faces are here, fields of flowers are here, impossibly blue skies and sharp suns, roads and streets and windows that remain perfectly intact even though the rest of the house has been blown to pieces. Love is here, and peace sits in the same room as pain, while hope has more strength than killing or death. The man's words are beautiful and true and, as real as the war he fights is, dawn and tomorrow are more real.Parts of it will tell your story. Parts of it will become your story. Parts of it will take you on a journey you never expected to take. That is the power of poetry in motion.Begin at this man's beginning.

9 review for Petals: Poems of a War in Ukraine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim Bennett

    I will give you a quote from the introduction, which is in prose, to provide a first feel for Pura’s descriptive power: “Aunt Helen would bring me intricately decorated eggs at Easter. Whenever I visited her home it was like visiting a foreign country – icons with dark eyes brooded on the walls, pickles and dill floated like pike among lake weed in huge glass jars, pictures of the Pope blessing a crowd and of Jesus opening his chest to a Sacred Heart mingled with a photograph of her father, my g I will give you a quote from the introduction, which is in prose, to provide a first feel for Pura’s descriptive power: “Aunt Helen would bring me intricately decorated eggs at Easter. Whenever I visited her home it was like visiting a foreign country – icons with dark eyes brooded on the walls, pickles and dill floated like pike among lake weed in huge glass jars, pictures of the Pope blessing a crowd and of Jesus opening his chest to a Sacred Heart mingled with a photograph of her father, my grandfather and namesake, lying in his coffin, hands clasped on his chest.” You will be ambushed by the poem Cottonwoods, which begins thus: “if there are cottonwoods in Ukraine /they will tell different stories //mine speak of the buffalo and the Blackfoot /jade waters wind about their roots /and have their own words...” which leads to a surprise gut-punch ending. Belonging and alienation are weirdly captured in She Traced my Body on Paper, which begins thus: “She traced my body on paper /And ignored the chill I felt on my skin /As she moved her pencil down my neck /Over my shoulders and down past my heart //Over the pattern of my life...” I have too many favourites here to mention them all, so I’ll skip to The Girl at the Airport, which is sort-of a love poem told amidst the horror of war, including these fragments: “i met Savella where /smoke wound like the black dreams you cannot remember /but which are snaked too tight to leave your mind...” and later “we fought for the airport by Donetsk /where she held an assault rifle /and it was the shattering and breaking of men...” and “I saw the liquid around her eyes /and the current beneath her skin...” and “killing became kisses /wounds gave way to passions /she had no english /it made no difference...” Now if you think that’s a spoiler, turn to the poem and let Pura tell you the rest of it. You will be surprised. No carps in this review. No typos. Nothing but powerful imagery and strong experiences. I will conclude by mentioning War House, which begins thus: “I have seen houses /Where the only things moving /Were shirts and pants pinned to a clothesline /Flipping up and over in a blue sky wind...” Here the tragedy of being caught in a war is described with brutal simplicity. For me, star counts are hard. I try to be consistent. My personal guidelines, when doing any review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. This time, five stars was an easy decision. Enjoy. Pura stands among the great writers of descriptive experience.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin Geil

    Reviewed by Readers' Favorite Reviewer: In Murray Pura's poetry collection, Petals: Poems of a War in Ukraine, you are immersed in a part of life that many people in this world are not privy to. War. This collection pulls together snapshots of childhood memories and the recalling of war, and the heartbreak of both at times. It will break you out of your comfort zone, that is a fact. It will open your eyes to a war of which many of us have no inkling. You will be faced with that war, and with reco Reviewed by Readers' Favorite Reviewer: In Murray Pura's poetry collection, Petals: Poems of a War in Ukraine, you are immersed in a part of life that many people in this world are not privy to. War. This collection pulls together snapshots of childhood memories and the recalling of war, and the heartbreak of both at times. It will break you out of your comfort zone, that is a fact. It will open your eyes to a war of which many of us have no inkling. You will be faced with that war, and with recollections of childhoods that may or may not be similar to your own. Murray Pura's first poem draws you in, giving you a sense of a history that might not be known, but it makes you traipse through the unknown in a way that is captivating. There is a heartbeat in these poems that rhyme could not produce, it pulls you in with poetic words. My favorite poem, “she traced my body on paper”, entranced me. I can picture it in some ways and can’t in others, it’s a back and forth kind of unsettling emotion that I find to be perfect. If there were any confusion to be had, the poem “the man from Paris” again is a favorite; however, its structure made it difficult for me to read easily, and there were times when I didn’t know who was speaking. Other than that, Petals: Poems of a War in Ukraine by Murray Pura is one of the best collections of poetry that I have come across in some time. I highly recommend it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Murray

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vivek

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  6. 4 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Murray

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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