“In some ways, it seemed like he was saying that my thoughts were important.” The second story, more sanitized than the first, hints at the creative potential that can come from a mother’s backhand and a bloody lip.

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Xiomara notes the exchange: Acevedo’s sense of play with Xiomara’s journal is refreshing.

We get to watch Xiomara reinvent herself, trying on costume after costume to see what fits.

Acevedo has been vocal in praising teachers who encouraged her to perform. Her poem “Rat Ode” was inspired by the marginalization she sometimes felt in her program, where professors casually dismissed her point of view.

But she also notes that higher education “can be extremely isolating for students of color, especially if those students come from poverty-stricken environments.” In previous performances, she’s been candid about the struggles she herself underwent while earning her M. After hearing that she wanted to write a poem about the ingenuity of the New York City rat, a professor chided her, saying, “Rats aren’t noble enough creatures for poems.

At her America magazine reading, the crowd was diverse, but the most enthusiastic members were teen girls of color, who seemed intimately familiar with Acevedo’s work and performances.

If the journal is a place of reinvention for Xiomara, then Ms. Xiomara chooses the titular “X” as her slam name, declaring herself a mystery and a target. ” Xiomara asks her mother as she sets her journal ablaze.At the reading, she spoke fondly of her older brothers teaching her about rap.That gave way to performing poetry with organizations like Urban Word NYC.“Brother Hoover,” she joked to our host for the evening, “I’m quite blasphemous.” is Acevedo’s first novel, inspired by teaching eighth-grade English in a school that served primarily Latinx students.It follows fifteen-year-old Xiomara Batista, who struggles to reconcile her mother’s devotion to Catholicism with her own values as she prepares for confirmation.Throughout the night, we, the audience, had become intimately acquainted with Acevedo.