Cover Image: a fire like you

a fire like you

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Member Reviews

Great empowering poetry that makes you see things in a brand new way. I liked how the author used her heritage as inspiration.
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"I have been grieving a lot of things that needed to die in me."

The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This poetry collection just wasn't for me. I didn't feel a connection to what I was reading.
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It is collection of short free style poems with deep sense of pain prevelent in human existence.
It dissects love, loss, desire and pain.
I liked many lines which have deep meaning and excuisite aftertaste.
Author has real talent while showing her anger and clear in depiction of changing relations.
I kept reading till end, once I picked it.
A very good book for poingant tales from life of a wounded soul .
Thanks netgalley and publisher for review copy.
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Upile Chisala's latest book of poetry, "a fire like you," was stupendous! It was full of short micropoems on love, self-love, lust, relationships, and family. It is broken out into four sections: Wound, Hunger, Swoon, Sister. Most poems are only a few lines long but they are deeply felt. You can feel the pain, the longing, the emotion behind the words. There is real desire and passion caught in the few lines that connects with your heart.

Ms. Chisala is a black Malawian woman that has been through many difficult life experiences, which tries to relay to the reader. There is a depth in her writing despite many of her poems consisting of fewer than twenty words. What I found to be most inspiring in this book was her poetry on empowerment. The poems that focused on taking care of yourself and not looking for a partner or spouse to take care of you. There definitely is some benefit of having a partner to care for you when you cannot care for yourself, but that should be the exception and not the rule.

I thought that this was a splendid new collection that any fan of poetry should go out and get when it is released this week on March 10, 2020.

I received this eBook free of charge from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I did not receive any fiscal compensation from either company for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
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A Fire Like You was a bit of a wild card of a poetry collection. While there were several poems that I enjoyed (I Think The Furniture Knows and a number of the untitled poems were among my favorites) overall, the collection was okay. There isn't anything glaringly negative about this collection, nor is there anything in particular that stands out. I think for the right reader, it will hit the right spots, and I definitely think that it deserves a read.
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a fire like you by Upile Chisala

3.5 stars

“We were two bruised things
Behaving poorly.
Always going wound for wound
And troubled father for troubled father.

Dredging up dirt and trauma.
Nothing was sacred, everything was a weapon,
No one was safe.
This is the damaging dance.

Fire still can’t be put out with gasoline.
Love and violence have never been friends.”

Chisala is an angry poet and that’s a good thing. We need more angry poets being published today. Her poems are honest, open, and confrontational about today’s issues with poems like “As Black as Tax”. She drives in her voice and allows herself freedom to express the sorrow of her soul. I like how angry she is. She is a passionate voice in the poetry community and it's something we need right now. If you are looking for a passionate poetry collection, I think this may be the collection that you have been looking for.


Whimsical Writing Scale: 3.5

Plotastic Scale: 3.5

Cover Thoughts: Simple and striking.

Thank you, Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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This collection seemed less pretentious to me than other modern poetry I’ve read so far, but it still wasn’t for me.
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"I have decided to never again put myself through hell for love.
This life is far too delicious to be spent burning for men."

This collection is divided into 4 parts: Wound, Hunger, Swoon and Sister. Each part explores Upile's explores her identity as a black Malawian woman, intimate life experiences and imparts enunciation on empowerment and love. 

I didn't enjoy this as much as I wanted to. The poems felt too unadorned and out of place. Even though few poems resonated so well with my heart, it didn't strike the right chords in me. I completely loved 'Swoon' but the others felt repetitive and foreshadowed certain poems from her previous collections. I prefer 'Nectar' over this any day. Nevertheless, it is a good quick read, thanks to the magical eloquence Upile's writing style holds!

Upile has always been an eloquent voice in the world of poetry. She has always explored the diverse topics: self-love, womanhood, healing, growth, relationships, race & racism and portrayed their connection to one another through a beautiful and empowering web of collections of poems. I would be looking forward to read more works by her!

Rating: 3/5
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Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing for the ARC!
Great book for fans of modern poetry. This was my first book by this author and I hope to read more from her in the future. Some poems touched me more than others, but overall it was a great read.
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I requested "A Fire Like You" on one of my whimsiest whims while perusing Netgalley, and was oh-so-lucky that it worked out. 

"A Fire Like You" takes on complex topics that I haven’t seen explored often (or at all) in poetry: poverty, a depiction of a home that isn’t the worst but that wasn’t wonderful and a family who wasn't always perfect but that tried their best, racial prejudice and what it feels like to be a black woman in this world. The most interesting of all, to me, were the discussions on poetry itself and how the form often feels like it necessitates wallowing in dark times and re-experiencing past trauma in order to create it. Chisala questions why we feel this way, and discusses how dangerous a path that can be for the poet to always focus on the worst times of life just to create emotional verses for their audiences.

I loved the uniqueness of what this collection covered and how there weren’t just love poems (although, the section entitled ‘swoon’ delivered some of those too). And it had the writing to match the power behind the words. 

While reading, I had no overall criticisms with the book. However, although there were a handful of poems that I loved, the majority were just middle of the road. The more ambiguous the poems got, the better I liked them, while there were some that just seemed too simplistic with only one or two lines. But, obviously, poetry is a very subjective and emotional thing, and there will be plenty of people who feel the exact opposite. 

What I can say is that I think a cleaner progression from start to finish would only have served to strengthen this book. The poems stay on topic for their sections for the most part, but I thought that with just a bit more re-organizing, the collection would have shown a clearer story from beginning to end. 

I rated "A Fire Like You" 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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I received a review copy of #afirelikeyou from #NetGalley

This is a collection of modern poetry and prose that flows together per the major themes, but each piece can also stand on its own. It starts out pretty dark but as the book goes on, the writing builds with more and more hope and optimism and eventually external changes and improvements. There are intermittent line drawings that add some extra meaning to the text overall. This also comes in an audiobook narrated by the author - I highly highly highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys the text.

I loved the poems but my favorite part was actually from the acknowledgments: "And finally, to Sakhe, I don't have the range or the words or even the language. You are everything."
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A Fire Like You is a book of poetry that I have mixed feelings about. I will be sharing a few of the lines and poems with my students, but overall, this collection was not for me.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing this e-arc!

Let's start with the reason why i rated it this low. It wasn't for me. I am not the target audience nor a big fan of the genre. I tried to step out of my comfort zone but it clearly didn't work. At first i thought that it was going ti be great. Then none of the poems impacted me, leaving me lukewarm.about the book. If you're a big fan of her poetry and the genre in general then you might enjoy this more than me
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Like the title Upile’s words are like fire. She has a way of making just a few sentences burn within you. I found myself placing my hand to my heart after reading many of her poems. This is a great read.
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This is such a relatable and fascinating poetry collection. The author shows us how to be strong and tells us that we shouldn't be ashamed of our past or the thing we cannot control. She writes about self-love and positive thinking and some of her poems changed me completely. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and I totally recommend it to anyone who has an interest in poetry. This poetry collection made me want to read more of Upile Chisala's books.
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This was a very interesting poetry collection. I am still in that weird in-between of how I feel about modern day poetry and this collection confirms this. I enjoyed it, however, there were a severe amount of poems that were five lines or less. There were also moments I felt I wasn't getting the entire story, however, the collection itself was enjoyable.
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Having read a fair few poetry collections in the last few weeks, I had an open mind for a fire like you. Following the cult 'Insta-poet' style, Chisala writes short but powerful poems about what it means to be a female, in particular what it means to be a black female, in the 21st century.
Chisala covers a topic that many women fret over yet is something I rarely see covered by modern poets: body dysmorphia. These poems in particular set Chisala apart from the saturated market of Insta-Poets and it is so refreshing to see a female talk about her body, the issues she faces with it, and at times, her acceptance with it. 
If you liked Rupi Kaur (or any other 'Insta-Poet'), please pick up Chisala's book as she really is a tier above the rest.
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I very much enjoyed this book of poetry. The poems were something that most people could relate to. I liked the clear, succinct language and style. I look forward to reading her other collections of poetry.
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Upile writes about a lot of things, but her own heritage is a big part of that. Some poems hit me so hard, others were less inspiring to me. The poems in the section Hunger were the most fitting myself. But overall the collection was interesting and I'm glad I read it. It is an interesting way to learn about someones heritage.
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a fire like you is one of the most eloquent, well-written collections i’ve had the privilege of reading so far in 2020. upile tells her story again with strength, beauty and relatability. i found myself wishing i could read these poems to my mother and my sisters. a beautiful collection tied together with simple yet intriguing illustrations. a must-read for any poetry lover.
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