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Annie, St Helen and St Katharine

The Poet X

This book is written in verse, and is about a girl called Xiomara who lives in Harlem which is in New York. She has a twin brother, but he is cleverer than her and goes to a different school. She is taller than him and has always been the one to protect him by fighting; this sometimes gets her into trouble.

I found it difficult to understand because there is quite a bit of Spanish because Xiomara’s parents come from the Dominican Republic and her mother tells her off in Spanish a lot. Xiomara doesn’t get on with her mother at all - she is supposed to be going to communion classes but isn’t sure she believes in God any more; also she really likes a boy at school called Aman, but her mother thinks that girls who have boyfriends are terrible. Xiomara talks about being judged all the time for having a big body and looking sexy; she fights boys who call her names and seems to feel really sad and lonely because she’s so defensive. She likes Aman because he seems different and likes it when she reads her poems to him.

At school her English teacher encourages her to write more, and to come to a poetry Slam group where people read out their own poetry. The whole book is written as if it’s Xiomara writing her own poems so it sort of makes sense that way. The poems didn’t feel like regular poems - they didn’t have much rhyme or rhythm but sometimes she plays with words like repeating a question or a word lots of times on the page. The title of each poem is the first sentence of it.

I feel like I didn’t understand quite a lot of it - it would maybe suit older years because it’s about relationships and grown-up stuff. Also the way she wrote conversations between herself and her mother or her Twin in the poems was a bit confusing and I wasn’t sure who was talking sometimes.

Posted on: 23rd April 2019 at 09:48 am

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