62 pages 2 hours read

Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | YA | Published in 2018

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Authorial Context: Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo, the author of The Poet X and a slam poet herself, is a born-and-raised New Yorker, who—like Xiomara—is of Dominican heritage and identifies as Afro-Latina. 

Before she became a New York Times-bestselling author, Acevedo was an eighth-grade English literature schoolteacher. As she explained in an interview with the blog Chalkboard Champions: Recognizing and Celebrating Great Teachers, her experiences as a schoolteacher made her intimately aware of the inner-workings of the teenage mind and put her directly in touch with the teenage experience: 

“Being around teenagers all the time makes me aware of the emotional scale that they’re on and how they’re responding to things […] If nothing else, it’s a reminder of how brilliant they are […] Some adults write down to young people, but, if you listen to them, they’ll tell you what they need. Oftentimes, I think they’re more able to handle difficult subjects than we give them credit for.”

What’s more, Acevedo’s lived experience as an Afro-Latina woman who grew up in New York City also shaped the characters, settings, and themes in The Poet X. Acevedo’s characters, particularly Xiomara and Xavier, draw on Acevedo’s lived experience. Acevedo also once said that her love of the written word comes from early childhood experiences with language, thus exposing her to the emotional power of poetry, and especially slam poetry.