soft magic

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

soft magic is a gorgeous collection of poems by Upile Chisala. There will inevitably be similarities drawn between this collection and Rupi Kaur’s work, but for me Chisala’s poems hit harder. 

Written in a minimalist style, soft magic deals with complex topics and identities revolving around blackness, mental health, diaspora, womanhood, and self-love. The true triumph of this collection is how accessible soft magic makes its multi-faceted truths to the reader. A moving, arresting read for all audiences.
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soft magic is a previously self-published book that’s being republished. With good reviews, I expected a good collection of poems, but I was soon disappointed. The book may be a hit or miss, and for me it was a big miss. Majority of poems are a sentence or two long and are generic, Instagram-feelgood-quotes.

If I could some up the book, it would be “Darling, you are beautiful. Darling, you are strong.” That’s what you will be getting out of the whole collection. I soon picked up overused and repeated language between poems, specifically these words: ocean, darling, bones, magic, love, swim. Create any combination of these words and you’ll have read half the book.

I wasn’t moved by any of the statements. To top it off, I already had an unfavourable opinion towards second-person poetry, especially when it’s quite generic. I enjoy consuming diverse and feminist poetry, but I find the saturation of books telling young girls “you are beautiful” to be a selling market-point that assumes women and girls need to be told they’re beautiful. As much as the patriarchy sucks, the most badass and feminist writing out there SHOWS how badass women can be—this does not. Anyone can tell you that you’re beautiful, but great writers should be showing you and making you believe in such beauty and power. Although admirable in intention, the self-love concept fails to get through.

In summary, I wouldn’t recommend this book. Even if you like micro-poetry, this isn’t what you’re looking for. Other reviewers have compared it to similar collections but referred to how soft magic is inferior. So, save your money and spend on a more worthwhile collection.
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A very simple, soft poetry for a modern girl. The poet expressed her views on being a coloured person and the strength that's required to be one. Even though the idea is repetitive throughout the book, the freshness is felt in every page. A good fast read for all modern poetry lovers.
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Upile Chisala creates simple yet emotive poetry that touches on topics of love, depression, family, and the struggles and joys of being dark skinned. Beautiful and sad, but definitely full of life. This short collection will appeal to anyone who's a fan of Rupi Kaur.
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I  received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review. 

This was a great journey. One of those poetry books you have to put down every other poem because some of them just speak to you. I would definitely reccomend this book to anyone. 


"If you got out of bed today and chose to face the world, I'm proud of you. 
If you're still struggling to, I'm rooting for you. "
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"be careful with how you choose to love people 
don't destroy them
don't destroy yourself"

this entire collection hit me in the heart in ways i needed, especially now.
this year i want to practice softness more than ever before.
i want to love right, whether it's myself or others, in ways everyone can respect and understand, with no expectations or doubts, without taking away from myself by giving to someone else.
many of these poems made me want to cry, poc are so brave and beautiful. 
more praise should be given, i hope people read this book and open their hearts to the realities around us and inside of others
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A very interesting collection of poetry. Sometimes it didn’t really feel like I was reading a poem or that she didn’t try that hard to write the poems but at the end of the day good poetry is subjective. What’s okay for me might be amazing for someone else.
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This was an interesting collection. I think the themes of love and race were present throughout and Chisala has a really present voice. She could really develop into being a fantastic poet but this debut collection was a bit weaker than what i wanted. A few good pieces but generally a little weak,
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This was incredibly relatable to me as a woman, and as someone who struggles with her mental health. I think it'd be even more relatable to women of color. The poems are easy to understand, nice and short, very accessible to someone new to poetry. Highly recommend!
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A valid reason to make an uproarious, fat noise. These simple poems were thought-provoking, self-affirming, and revelatory.
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What a beautiful book. I am a young, white, American male - in short, something that has hurt the world a great deal. It is good to read and know something from someone who is not me. 5 stars because it is exactly what it purports to be and more. Many quotes have been shared to my IG stories, @lukeskyfoos.
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I personally haven't read Salt by Nayyirah Waheed, which a lot of people are comparing this to. In my uneducated, therefore, opinion, this was so well written. Highly relatable and heart-warming, Upile Chisala offers an unapologetic anthology of what it means to be a black woman in 'soft magic.'
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The minimalist approach is poetry, while dismissed by some as "Tumblr" or "hit-enter" poetry, is becoming more popular, and I for one am delighted. Personally, I love that every word means more when there are so few of them to start; the precise employment of language to convey a simple but important truth. Chisala's messages about self-love for black women deserve to be heard by a wider audience, and I hope it is someday.
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"Love, the only kind that counts, is wholesome."

“I am dripping melanin and honey. I am black without apology.”

soft magic is, as it says on the tin, a poetry collection that explores the self, joy, blackness, gender, matters of the heart, the experience of Diaspora, spirituality, and how we survive. As her debut collection and my own introduction to her work, it's an absolutely wonderful book. The poetry is moving and evokes the feeling of soft magic in your very bones.

I can't wait to get my own physical copy, because not only is it a quality collection, it would look beautiful on my shelves.
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This is a short but sweet collection which explores some interesting themes surrounding feminism, gender, self-love, relationships, and more.
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A beautiful collection of poems on love, family, new adventures, fears, hopes, dreams-all written in a way that any reader can relate to.
Thanks Netgalley for the eARC.
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This is really no different to the other generic Tumblr-esque poetry collections which seem to be everywhere.  Bitty and repetitive.
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