Book Reviews, Books, Poetry

Poetry Review: soft magic. by Upile Chisala

Title: soft magic. 

Author: by Upile Chisala

Genre: Poetry

Length: 122 pages


Poetry Review

My Review:

I’ve been thinking a lot about poetry lately. What does it mean to write poetry? What does it mean to be a poet? What makes a poem? 

Many of my fellow English majors would argue that a poem is defined by form, structure, and meter; however, in recent years, there have been many exciting things happening in the world of poetry. The world is starting to listen to the voices of poets from diverse backgrounds. Space is being made in the poetry world for women, people of color, and people from other groups that have been historically marginalized.

In many ways, I am a classicist. But I am also a rebel. I love this new movement in poetry and I loved this collection by Upile Chasala. I was fascinated by what she could do with only a handful of words. I have a soft spot for poetry that empowers women (especially women of color), so my opinion may be biased, but Chisala’s words incredibly uplifting and empowering for me.

I often wonder about what exactly makes a poem.  Is it rhyme? Is it meter?   -Or is it passion?

Chisala’s work is tightly knit and has a distinct has structure. Her art lies in the fact that she is able to make something incredibly complex look deceptively simple. It is clear that she has carefully considered every single well placed word. Her writing slices directly to the heart and taps into a history of oppression that has been silenced for too long.

I have a colleague whose favorite quote is, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” Chisala’s writing causes us to confront the history of colonization and oppression which many of us take for granted. Nevertheless, instead of being angry when talking about these issues, Chisala’s voice comes across as clear, powerful, and comforting.

This is a book that I plan on rereading in the future. I also plan to go out and purchase her other book, NectarI want to know more about what this fierce lady poet has to say to our world today.

I strongly recommend this book for fans of modern poetry, especially if you enjoy reading underrepresented voices.


*Note: I received a free digital copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. 


Do you love poetry? Who are some of your favorite lady poets? Let me know in the comments below! 

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