The Poet X Background

The Poet X Background

Published in 2018, The Poet X is a young adult realistic fiction novel by Dominican-American poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. The novel--specifically the protagonist Xiomara, who goes by "X"--draws on Acevedo's own experience growing up in New York City as the child of Dominican immigrants, Like the protagonist, Acevedo was raised Catholic (although she no longer practices the religion), so the book also underscores the tension Acevedo witnessed between her Catholic upbringing and her budding sexuality.

The Poet X also draws heavily on Acevedo's love for slam poetry, a form of performance poetry that brings together poet-performers of different ages and backgrounds to share their work, which usually relates to social justice or other socio-political contemporary issues. Acevedo took part in her first "poetry slam" at age 14 at New York City's Nuyorican Poets Café; X is fifteen and wants to get involved with slam poetry but fears her family's response.

The Poet X was released to critical acclaim and won several prestigious awards, including the Michael L. Printz Award, the National Book Award, and the Pura Belpré Award for the "best portray[al of] the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth." It was followed by Acevedo's second novel, With the Fire on High, published in May 2019.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.