By: Em Perper

Let’s talk about poet Elizabeth Acevedo and her upcoming novel-in-verse, The Poet X.

If you’re in a hurry and want the most salient points, here’s what you need to know:

  1. The Poet X is one of the most anticipated debuts of spring 2018.
  2. Frederick is the second stop on Elizabeth Acevedo’s book tour.
  3. She’ll read at Maryland Ensemble Theatre (31 West Patrick St.) on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m.
  4. Tickets are free, but you need to reserve a seat.

Xiomara Batista, the main character of The Poet X, is a teenage girl, but her story transcends age. This is a book for anyone who’s ever felt overlooked or neglected by the books they love.

One day, one of my students asked me why we never read books with students that looked like her and her classmates,” Acevedo said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “That doesn’t mean you aren’t welcome to the pages if you don’t come from that background, but the impetus was to build a story that would feel like home for so many of us that have been on the outside of literature peeking in.”

Xiomara is grappling with doubts about her religion, her Dominican immigrant parents’ strict rules and expectations, growing distance from her beloved twin brother, and her own self-image. She feels isolated from her classmates and misunderstood by her family, but she’s full to bursting with creativity. Her journal is her lifeline, and she finds solace in hip-hop. Acevedo has imbued Xiomara with a remarkable, unforgettable voice; I’m still thinking about her days after finishing The Poet X.  

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, Another Brooklyn) and Jason Reynolds (All American Boys, Ghost, Long Way Down) will connect immediately with The Poet X. I’d posit that anyone interested in poetry, feminism, womanism, self-discovery, and self-expression will find a home in this book.

The Poet X is Acevedo’s first novel, but she dropped a poetry collection called Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths in 2016. Originally from NYC, Acevedo is the daughter of Dominican immigrants. She has a B.A. in Performing Arts from George Washington University in D.C. and received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She’s given TED Talks and performed at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and other amazing places. Today, she lives and writes in D.C.

If this isn’t enough to intrigue you, watch her perform slam poetry here. And here. And here. Here’s her TED Talk.  

Frequently Anticipated Questions

Q: I’ve never read a novel-in-verse before. Will I like or even understand The Poet X?

A: If this is your first time reading a novel-in-verse, fear not! Acevedo’s prose is lyrical and accessible, and the story moves chronologically. Plus, the chance to see the author read excerpts from her book will give you a deeper understanding of the story and characters.

Q: Where the heck is Maryland Ensemble Theatre?

A: Great question! If you put 31 West Patrick Street into your GPS, it’ll take you to MET. You’ll go down a set of stairs in the building and someone from Curious Iguana will be there to welcome you. There’s street parking and a parking garage right across the street.

Q: I didn’t reserve a ticket, and now there aren’t any left. What do I do?

A: Oh, no! Your best bet is to arrive at MET around 6:45 p.m. and give your name to a Curious Iguana employee. We’ll add you to the standby list, and if there are any empty seats left at 7 p.m., we’ll seat you. No guarantees. Reserve your free ticket today, though, and you won’t have to worry about it.

Q: Will Elizabeth sign my book?

A: Heck yeah! Elizabeth will sign books purchased through Curious Iguana after her reading. Books will be on sale before and after the event.

Q: I have a question you didn’t anticipate. What do I do?

A: No worries! Call Curious Iguana at 301.695.2500 or email There’s more information on our Events Calendar, too.