I remember the very first slam poem. It was Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make” and I saw it on Def Poetry Jam. And while I don’t regularly listen to/watch slam like I used to, when someone sends me something or I want to demonstrate to students that poetry isn’t as inaccessible as they think it is, I always come back to it.
This year, I have a student who discovered that she’s really into poetry. I’d heard Elizabeth Acevedo was a slam poet and that she had a book coming out: The Poet X. I told the student I’d pick it up and I’d hold it for her whenever she was ready (she’s currently reading Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s One for the Murphys).
The Poet X follows Xiomara, a black Latina living in the US with her Dominican parents. She’s dealing with the attention she’s receiving because of puberty, faith, and family, among other things. She’s also a poet who writes poetry that she doesn’t tend to share with people. A teacher encourages her to join a slam poetry club at school, but Xiomara is reluctant, though she wants to.
Here’s what I thought:
That was posted on Twitter, and here’s the response I received (and there may have been some geeking out that happened)
I’ll also say that if you’re an audiobook reader, this is one that is awesome to listen to. I actually bought the book after I finished the audio.
Have you read The Poet X? What did you think?