Monday, March 20, 2017

Review - Petals by Murray Pura

Murray took a chance.

Murray Pura is known for his Amish and Romance novels. He is a best-seller and has won multiple awards. With Petals, Murray took a chance on a different kind of writing. Petals is a collection of poems that tend to be quite personal and more than a little emotional. Murray took a chance outside of his norm and it paid off in the form of a 5-star review.

Petals by Murray Pura is available from MillerWords in paperback and Kindle - click HERE to purchase.

Here is the complete article by reviewer and poet Jim Bennett:

twenty-five powerful poems

five stars

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 an ‘official’ KBR 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.

Kindle Book Review Team member.

(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)

About the Book: 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.

About the Reviewer: Jim Bennett is a poet: five volumes available here; and published in The Fiddlehead, Event, The New Quarterly, and Prairie Fire. Jim started writing poetry in high school, thought a handwritten poem had been created by a student who’d sat in the same desk earlier that day. Mentored by one English teacher, and rekindled by Richard Ketchum, Jim never looked back. Jim Bennett is an unlikely poet: M.Sc. in Pure Mathematics, programmer, designer, and application architect at IBM, CIBC, and SimVest Solutions, you’d expect a techie’s techy and be correct. Still, Jim has varied interests and views his career(s) as funding for himself, his wife, their children, and writing. (Poets rarely get rich by their poems; Jim suspected this and directed his efforts accordingly). Jim takes pictures; images on are his, and cover images on his last three volumes. He keeps tropical fish, but is not expert. Jim Bennett is a poet. Everything else is secondary, except his wife and children.

To see more titles from this publisher, search "MillerWords" on Amazon Kindle. To see more from author Murray Pura, please visit: Murray Pura Writing on Facebook. Jim Bennett reviews for the site Kindle Book Review and has his own blog at

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