Author Focus – Elizabeth Acedevo

National Poetry Slam Champion and best-selling author in our own backyard

Eliana Amoh, Minority Beat Reporter

If you didn’t know about Slam Poetry before, you will now, thanks to Elizabeth Acevedo.

She had always had a way with words, leading her to want to become a rapper. This goal was not long-lasting. Acevedo met an English teacher named Abby Lublin at the Beacon School. Ms.Lublin encouraged Elizabeth to join the school’s poetry club to help improve her writing skills. From then on, Acevedo learned that she had a passion for poetry and wanted to pursue that in the future. She drew heavily from her experience of growing up Catholic in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood.

Born in NY, NY to Dominican immigrant parents, by the age of 14, Acevedo had already competed in her first poetry slam at the Nuyorican Poets Café which led to her participating in more open mics in New York. She relocated to Washington D.C. to earn a B.A. in Performing Arts at The George Washington University.

She didn’t stop there! She then went on to the University of Maryland to earn her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. From there, she has worked on many different things that display her love for English and poetry. She has been a participant in the Callaloo Writer’s Workshops which are designed to assist new and developing writers by providing intensive and individual instruction in the writing of fiction and poetry. Acevedo is also a featured reader nationally and internationally, making appearances at The Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, and South Africa’s State Theatre.

Acevedo’s first book titled “The Poet X” won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Carnegie Medal, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award. She is also the author of a book released last year titled “Clap When You Land.”

Mrs. Stalnaker, our school’s library media specialist, said “The Poet X is a novel written in verse by Elizabeth Acevedo. It tells the story of Xiomara, a Dominican teen growing up in her Harlem neighborhood. Xiomara is trying to find herself and see how she fits into the world. She is tough on the outside but is still trying to figure everything out on the inside. She does this by writing her thoughts and poems in her notebook.”

Stalnaker continued: “Her passion and fierceness come alive in The Poet X and I would definitely recommend this book. Even more, I would recommend listening to the audio version. It is read by the author who also does slam poetry, and her voice makes the verses in the book come alive.”

Acevedo continues to write while living in Washington, DC with her spouse. She is an inspiration to all with her journey to ultimately become a New York Times-bestselling author, poet, novelist, and National Poetry Slam Champion. She reminds us all to continue to work hard and follow our passions and dreams.

Additional comment: Both the ebook and audio version of “The Poet X” is available in our GBHS MackinVia ebook library! Check them out by clicking on the MackinVia icon in Classlink.


Her website:

Editor Note: Elizabeth Acevedo was scheduled for a guest appearance in March 2020 at GBHS, but the event was canceled due to the school shutdown. It is not known at this time if her appearance will be rescheduled.