Elizabeth Acevedo's THE POET X Wins 2018 National Book Award

November 15, 2018

The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), by Elizabeth Acevedo, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Acevedo earned her MFA in Poetry at the University of Maryland in 2016.

Elizabeth is originally from New York and she is the daughter of Dominican immigrants. She earned her BA in Performing Arts at The George Washington University, and among having given TEDTalks and being on television, she has been performing and writing for a long time. 

Acevedo last returned to Tawes in December 2017 for an alumni reading at Writers Here & Now. She has published one other book, Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths.

The Poet X

"A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. The Poet X is the debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

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, 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. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent."


Elizabeth Acevedo HeadshotThe Poet X Book Cover