The Poet X

The Poet X

Book - 2019
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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. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, she discovers slam poetry, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers, especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2019.
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781432864583
1432864580
Call Number: TEEN LT FIC ACE
Characteristics: 409 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print
Bib Control Number: 1029284

Opinion

From Library Staff

For those who love books in verse, you will love The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. It's story about teenager Xiomara Batista who feels both unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. She must find a way to grapple with her very religious mother who does not understand her, especially w... Read More »

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. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, she discovers slam poetry, and she pours all her frustration and passion ... Read More »

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. This is the debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo, written in verse. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever sin... Read More »

Xiomara Batista is someone who will not be silent. She is the opposite of her quiet, meek, book smart twin brother, Xavier. She struggles with the pressure of her traditional, religious mother and harassment from people at school, but she refuses to be silenced. Instead, she writes poems and is e... Read More »

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IndyPL_AmyF Feb 25, 2019

The Poet X, beautifully written in verse, is an engaging coming-of- age story about high school student Xiamora Batista who is a talented poet. Xiamora’s struggles with the social and artistic limitations imposed by her strict mother are handled with sensitivity and insight. The book is dramatic ... Read More »


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l
labraden
Mar 06, 2021

Xiomara is a high school sophomore who lives with her twin brother, who she calls Twin, and her Mami and Papi, who are an older couple that came to the US from the Dominican Republic. Xiomara's Mami is old fashioned and religious, so she pushes Xiomara to devote her life to God, but Xiomara has questions and uses her writing as a way to seek answers. She begins to notice boys, and she knows that her Mami will see this as a sin, so when she starts spending time with Aman, she hides it from Mami. At the same time, Xiomara's teacher has asked her to join a writing club because she sees potential in the work Xiomara turns in for class. Xiomara would like to go, but knows that this is another thing Mami will not approve of. How long can Xiomara hide who she really is?

Poet X is written in verse which is a style of writing that I will probably never be very comfortable with, but it does tell a modern tale of family life. The contrast between what Xiomara wants versus what her Mami wants for her is sharply drawn, showing questionable decisions made by both characters that cause pain for the entire family. With neither character willing to give in, a boiling over point is inevitable. The strength of this novel is in its unwillingness to back down on issues of religion and family, however it does fail in addressing other social issues raised in the book. Overall, Poet X is a well written, thought provoking story told in a writing style that is enjoyable for many but off-putting for some.

c
carol3437
Oct 29, 2020

Already read this book. ellen carol barnett

The author is successful at writing a good YA story while using poetry to help the reader understand the main character, Xiomara. This is the story of a teenage girl who is finding her way while growing up in Harlem, coming to terms with her catholic religion, and her desire to be heard. She writes poetry and joins the Poetry Slam Club and has to hide this from her strict mother. I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars because of how well Acevedo is able to weave the poetry into the story line. Through the poetry the reader learns about the character and her feelings about her mother, her church and her desires.

a
ashleyha0321
Sep 30, 2020

The Poet X is for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. The book is written in prose and will not disappoint. The protagonist, Xiomara Batista has a lot to say, but often feels the pressure of a family that does not support her exploration in creativity. When she gets invited to her school’s poetry slam, everything changes and she’s faced with choosing to appease her family or choosing to express herself through performing poetry. I really loved this book because of how I could connect to the main character being a POC who deals with the pressure of trying to be perfect, while fighting inner demons. The book was crafted very beautifully and I find myself picking it up to read again and again.

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB Sep 08, 2020

Such a good coming of age story. Xiamara knows who she is from the get-go, but seeing her fully form into that amazing person, feeling strong and comfortable enough to let her truth shine was inspiring. I recommend the audio for the author's powerful reading of this YA novel in verse.

s
SusyHendrix
Aug 20, 2020

Adored this! The poetry is lovely and the coming of age element is just so well-done.

t
Trixie_reads
Aug 19, 2020

A beautifully written book!

AlishaH_KCMO Aug 19, 2020

Trigger Warnings: Sexism/Misogyny, Slut-Shaming, Abuse (both physical and emotional), Sexual Assault/Harassment, Homophobia

The Poet X follows Xiomara as she discovers pieces of herself. Religion also plays a key role in this novel as Xiomara battles with figuring out what she believes in.

I felt all the emotions while reading about Xiomara. It grasped at my heart and squeezed, it made me make my own fists, ready to fight; it was powerful. I can see why it won all the awards it has received. I was a little iffy about reading this book, but only because I don't read poetry - I can count on one hand how many poetry books I've read. But, I'm glad I read it because I feel like this is a book everyone should read.

Reading verses with Xiomara's mother was challenging. Her mother loved her religion more than she loved her children and was so outwardly cruel to her daughter because of how she was growing. Xiomara obviously had no control over how fast or large her body developed. She wanted Xiomara to be the Nun she couldn't be. She was also so demanding of her but not her brother, especially when it came to how she acts and how she helps out around the house. The way she disciplined her was heartbreaking.

Xiomara is a voice for so many youth and Elizabeth Acevedo had written this amazingly. This books deals with family, first love, religion, self-acceptance, sexuality, sexual harassment, and friendship. It's a quick read that's written beautifully. I would highly recommend this book to anyone (even those that don't read poetry).

l
lxpetrik
Jul 17, 2020

Overall I liked it. She does not shy away from what a teenager's life is really like. Love, love, loved, loved the Dominican background and use of Spanish in the verse. She really fleshes out her world in a way that is poetic and concrete.

My harshest criticism and that several of the poems could have had more weight if she cut down on the number of them. Still a fast read and enjoyable. Highly recommend.

adport1 Jul 15, 2020

I loved this book and Xiomara's journey to becoming the person that she wants to be. I haven't read many novels written in verse, but this one is fantastic.

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Age

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blue_bat_668
Oct 07, 2019

blue_bat_668 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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AwesomeErin_07
Jun 06, 2019

AwesomeErin_07 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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pink_panda_1782
Apr 04, 2019

pink_panda_1782 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 25

OPL_KrisC Jun 13, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Quotes

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r
RBatchelor94
Jun 16, 2020

heaving the words like weapons from my chest;
they're the only thing I can fight back with.

m
miraellie
Apr 08, 2020

“And I think about all the things we could be
if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.”

Summary

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p
pink_panda_1782
Apr 04, 2019

http://richincolor.com/2018/03/review-the-poet-x/

Review: Note: The Poet X includes physical and religious abuse, sexual harassment, and references to homophobia.

One of the best things about a novel in verse is how immediate the character’s voice can feel. Xiomara is an outstanding character who is trying to figure out how to express herself and coming to terms with the fact that what her church teaches (and her mother staunchly believes) does not reflect the world as she sees it or the way she wants to live. She is sharp, witty, and always bracing for a fight, and some of my favorite poems are the contrasts between what she wants to say and what she actually feels she can say (e.g., her homework assignments).

The Poet X is a great coming of age story. Xiomara pretty much does it all—falling in love, questioning religion, clashing with family, finding an outlet for her passion, calling out rape culture and sexism—and good times and the bad help her discover who she truly is and what she believes. Xiomara discovering and falling in love with slam poetry while we’re reading her poetry is a beautiful experience. It made me want to pull up some of my favorite Sarah Kay videos (yes, I had a slam poetry phase in my 20s) and just put them on repeat.

Even without knowing author Elizabeth Acevedo’s impressive and extensive body of slam poetry work, her love for the form was clear throughout the book. And so was Xiomara’s. I loved every time Xiomara made it to the poetry club or interacted with the other members, especially Ms. Galiano. Women mentoring other women is one of my favorite things, and having this teacher repeatedly reach out to Xiomara and encourage her talents was honestly inspiring.

But Xiomara’s story isn’t just a steady upward climb of honing her poetic talents; it touches on several more difficult topics. She is keenly aware of how much rape culture permeates her life and how much her mother buys into it and into the church’s sexism. There are some awful, painful scenes where Xiomara is punished (or insulted) for her budding sexuality and religious doubt. While there is a mostly hopeful conclusion to some of this, it left me concerned that Xiomara had only really bought herself some breathing space with her mother. (But that’s my pessimistic self.)

The romantic relationship between Xiomara and Aman is very well done, and Aman is one of the many interesting supporting characters in the book. One of the best traits a romantic lead can have, in my opinion, is consistently demonstrating a desire to listen. When Xiomara felt like she had to be silent, Aman was there, encouraging her with her poetry. (Another excellent trait is knowing when to apologize and how to make up for doing wrong.) I was also very fond of Twin (Xiomara’s twin brother, Xavier) and Caridad, as well as Ms. Galiano.

http://richincolor.com/2018/03/review-the-poet-x/

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