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. But she still 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.
My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews
wearing pretty florals and a soft smile.
They got combat boots and a mouth silent
until it's sharp as an island machete.
With raw emotions and beautiful imagery, The Poet X is everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved the conflict between religion and poetry, family and freedom. I loved the unique twin relationship, the supportive teacher, and the surprising priest. This story held me tight, whispered secrets, screamed truths, and broke my heart before putting it back together again. Even the titles of the poems played an important role in setting the scene, and everything worked together beautifully to paint pictures with words and emotions.
Every now and then, I dress my thoughts in the clothing of a poem. Try to figure out if my world changes once I set down these words.
I went into this book knowing only that it was loved and filled with poetry, and that’s all I needed. So I’m giving you the gift of brevity – not one of my strengths – and am strongly suggesting that you pick up The Poet X now and start reading.
And I think about all the things we could be
if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.