Why You Should Read The Poet X

Spoilers Ahead!

If you are a lover of poetry, if you make sense of your world through writing, if you have too much going on in your brain that you must write down, then you have got to read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. You will see yourself in the main character, Xiomara. The novel is a collection of Xiomara’s journal entries and poems, so it feels as though you are reading her journal rather than a novel. While reading the poems in Xiomara’s journal, you will follow her on her journey to discovering herself as she navigates her turbulent relationship with her strict mother and her blossoming feelings for Aman, a boy in her class. Over the course of the novel, the readers will see Xiomara growing into herself as she questions her religion and writes poetry to make sense of her world and her feelings. She joins a poetry club and at the end of the novel, she performs at a poetry slam. 

In my opinion, Acevedo’s poetic language is what makes this novel worth the read. I was captivated by her creativity and use of language. There is a fire to her words. She begins a poem, her words slowly start to spark on the page, one stanza passes, you start to see smoke. The next few stanzas give the smoke time to billow. Now five stanzas in, you watch small flicks of flames lick the punctuation marks. You are now seven stanzas in, almost at the last, the flames fly higher, climbing up to the base of the letters, they are about to reach the tops of the “Ms” and “Ws”. You feel as though you are running a fever, warmth tugs at your brain. Onto the last stanza, the words are as hot as branding irons, the flames stretch onto the rest of the page, all of the words are now pleasant shades of flickering pumpkin orange and cherry red. They radiate into your skin, the truth of her words push into you, you gladly absorb the warmth, you recognize this feeling, you think things like, “that is exactly what I noticed”, or “I never thought anybody else felt the same”, or even “I know exactly what she means”. 

Xiomara inspires me to write. Her words remind me as to why I love poetry so much, it’s because poems has a way of making you feel less alone, that someone understands what you are going through. And sometimes you just need to know that you are not alone. Xiomara’s ability to question the world and analyze its workings is what makes her such a brilliant writer, and in all honesty, if I had to guess, it is what allows Acevedo to write such a relatable and powerful story. In the end, Xiomara is a student, a fighter, a daughter, a friend, but most of all, she is a poet, the Poet X.