The Poet X

The Poet X.jpgThe Poet X
Written by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher’s Summary:
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

Primary Source Pairing:
Xiomara uses her poetry to communicate. Xiomara uses her poetry to escape. Xiomara uses her poetry to grow. These experiences are closely connected to the author’s own use of poetry to process the world around her. In her TED Talk, author Elizabeth Acevedo says that “[she] knows that poetry can immortalize a topic” (1:49, YouTube). Acevedo continues by saying “I think poetry is amazing because it is so easily carried in the body” (4:30, YouTube). In fact, Acevedo views poetry as an artifact: “It [poetry] distinctly says, this is the life and times what someone recorded based on what they thought is important” (5:00, YouTube). This is exactly what a primary source is – the artifact at the time of the study. Poetry as an artifact, poetry as a primary source is a powerful premise.

For this primary source pairing, use the Poetics section of Elizabeth Acevedo’s website and watch her perform two poems and her TED Talk. Encourage students to compare the narrative of Xiomara in The Poet X to Acevedo’s poems.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see and hear.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Compare Xiomara’s narrative to author Elizabeth Acevedo’s poetry.
  • Make a text connection to something said in Elizabeth Acevedo’s performances.
  • Consider poetry as a primary source. Discuss your thoughts on this idea as presented by Elizabeth Acevedo in her TED Talk.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Poetics section of Elizabeth Acevedo’s website: