62 pages 2 hours read

Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

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

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After Reading

Discussion/Analysis Prompt

As Elizabeth Acevedo says in this 8-minute TEDx Talk from 2015, she uses her poetry “to confront the violence against women.” What types of violence do Xiomara, Caridad, and the other women in The Poet X face throughout the novel? Is that violence physical, sexual, or psychological—or perhaps all three? Consider the moments in the novel when Xiomara is confronted with violence and pushes back. What does Xiomara do to confront and counteract violence against women?

Teaching Suggestion: You might guide students to understand that the catcalling and ogling that Xiomara experiences throughout the novel is a sexual and psychological kind of violence. As you move through this discussion, it might be helpful to revisit and read aloud sections of the novel in which women experience violence (for example, in Part 1, Xiomara details the unwanted male attention that she experiences as a result of her developing body, or in Part 2, Mami forces Xiomara to kneel on grains of rice as punishment) and then use that as the jumping-off point for the discussion.

Differentiation Suggestion: For advanced learners, the discussion could be broadened to examine other slam poets and the ways they fight sexism and violence against women in their work.