Mornings are Magenta

Poetry - General
88 Pages
Reviewed on 08/01/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers' Favorite

Mornings are Magenta by Murray Pura is a collection of poems that vividly expresses the experiences and emotions of the people of Ukraine amidst the Russian invasion of the country. The poems detail the brutality, devastation, and trauma of those who survive the war, where destruction has become the norm in their daily lives. The writer's disdain for the war and its effect on the country comes through powerfully, leaving you dumbfounded by the pain of the Ukrainian people that will last forever. In the wake of the war, all that's left behind is revulsion, nightmares, and desires for revenge, a never-ending loop of war, death, and sorrow.

Mornings are Magenta by Murray Pura is an exquisite and revealing collection that exposes the raw emotions of the loss of the Ukrainian people and a rousing empathy for their suffering. I don't think anyone can understand what people go through who live in a country where there is war, but Pura has awakened an understanding through these powerful poems. My favorite poems include Colors, Mother of God, Deity, Texts to Gods and Neighbors, War House 2022, and Smoke. Deity speaks about how to reach divinity; you must go through a dark path to reach better times. Deity especially resonated with me, and I can see how it is relevant to the story of the people of Ukraine as there lies hope and light for them at the end of this dark period. Mornings are Magenta is beautifully written, emotionally charged, daring, and absorbing; I loved reading it.

Philip Van Heusen

Murray Pura is of Ukrainian heritage. In Mornings Are Magenta, he laments the history of his homeland. Ukraine has a brutal history of being conquered by many different countries. They suffered at the hands of Stalin and at the hands of the Nazis. They continue to suffer today—again at the hands of Russia. When will they have peace? When will they be left alone? Murray uses poetry as his medium of choice to share his family’s pain and the pain of all other Ukrainians. The poems in this book are sad and will not bring laughter nor even a faint smile. Instead, the hurt and pain come through the pages. I especially liked the poem “Patriarch.” It is an excellent summary of how Russia feels toward the suffering in Ukraine. Obviously, Murray has the heart of a Ukrainian.

William Tecumseh Sherman said in the 1870s, “War is hell.” There is no better way to describe the horrors of the wars that have wracked Ukraine. If there is a better way to describe the stench of war, Murray Pura found it in Mornings Are Magenta. This book of poetry captures the personal aspects of terror. Death surrounds one, yet they must carry on. War stops for no one. Pura calls on his Ukrainian heritage and his extensive writing background to present an accurate portrait of the hell that is war. In this book, the images, the topic, and the tone are all somber. You will find many emotions in war, but joy and hope are not among them. War is often seen as the norm in a country that has been the battlefield on many different historical occasions. There is yet another invasion that needs to be repulsed. Once again, Ukraine will rise from the smoke.

Michaela Gordoni

Intensely eye-opening, Mornings are Magenta by Murray Pura is a collection of war poems revolving around the current conflict in Ukraine as well as WWII. The work is a compilation that expresses feelings, observations, and facts. It highlights hypocrisy, futility, and injustice. It examines war history and personal encounters with it. It speaks about feeling helpless in the face of so much suffering. It reflects on the emotions that war brings out, and the question of taking a soldier’s life. The poetry is not written in rhyme but each poem is composed thoughtfully, and with purpose while telling a story. The individual poems hold meaning and importance, whether it is an observation of the effects of war or the emotions tied to it.

The poetry is artfully descriptive and full of word pictures. Some poems are relatable, others are not, and some of them are unsettling, but certainly, all of them are thought-provoking. My favorite poem within this work is titled War House 2022. The author explores the sudden emptiness and hollowness of a place that should be filled with lives. Murray Pura understands the importance of truth in non-fiction writing and he certainly knows how to evoke emotions from a reader. Mornings are Magenta exposes the raw and ugly truth about the war in Ukraine. Pura has left me thinking about the wastefulness of war and wondering how it has been justified over and over again.