The Poet X Summary
Overall Summary of Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo’s novel The Poet X is a collection of short poems. The story is written through Xiomara Batista’s first person perspective throughout her sophomore year of high school. She resides in New York City with her twin brother Xavier and her parents.
Her mother, originally from the Dominican Republic, had desired to become a nun; nevertheless, she now works as a cleaning woman and remains quite pious. Xiomara’s father was a womanizer prior to the birth of the twins. He is employed for the transit authority and does not spend much time with his children. Despite their twin status, Xavier is a junior due to his intelligence. He is enrolled at a private school. Caridad is their best friend, whom they have known since they were infants.
Xiomara attends Caridad’s confirmation courses, although she struggles with her faith. She attempts to communicate with Father Sean, who appears to comprehend due to his youth and former interest in boxing, but he does not supply Xiomara with many answers. Xiomara is also an avid writer. Ms. Galiano, her English teacher, wants her to join the school’s Poetry Club, but it meets on Tuesdays during her confirmation courses.
Xiomara meets Aman, a lad from Biology, and the two start hanging out at the smoke park and listening to music. He extends an invitation to a Halloween party. Despite the fact that she is not allowed to date, X sneaks out and attends the party, where she has a terrific time.
Her brother and Caridad act as her protectors. She and Aman go ice skating on a day off, and they kiss on the train trip home. Her mother notices her and makes her to prostrate herself on rice and worship to the Virgin Mary. Additionally, she takes away her phone. She and Aman sever communication, and when a boy grabs her at school, Xiomara is enraged with Aman for failing to defend her. She advises him to keep his distance.
At Thanksgiving, Xiomara’s mother returns her phone, but she is without a contact. She continues to write in her journal, and Father Sean implies that she is not yet prepared for confirmation. Xiomara takes advantage of this opportunity to join the Poetry Club.
She meets Isabelle, who asks her to lunch in the photographic studio with her. Xiomara’s mother gifts her a bracelet for Christmas, and things appear to be better. Regrettably, Twin, whom she discovered was gay, is abandoned by her lover Cody due to his impending move.
Xiomara receives tickets to an apple farm for her January birthday, which she is unaware were discreetly sent by Aman. Twin provides her with a fresh journal in which to write her poems. The following day at school, she realizes she forgot her old notebook at home, and upon her return, she discovers her mother had read it and set it on fire. Xiomara flees stunned.
She texts Aman, and he invites her to his residence, where they rekindle their relationship. The following day, she returns home with Caridad, Twin, and Father Sean standing by her side as she confronts her mother, who weeps and reconciles with Xiomara. They begin once-a-week family counseling with Father Sean.
Everyone attends to show their support for Xiomara at the Poetry Slam, which she has been practicing for weeks. She does an excellent job, and they follow up with a celebration at her place. Xiomara is aware of the strength of her words and relieved that her family is getting along.
Page Wise Summary of The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X is written in poetry style from the perspective of Xiomara. Xiomara is a sophomore whose parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States. They are Harlem residents. Her mother believed she was going to be a nun until she was sent to America by her parents with Xiomara’s father.
X’s father had numerous relationships and believed himself to be sterile until Xiomara’s mother became pregnant with twins. Papi settled down in January to raise his son, Xavier, and daughter, Xiomara. Xiomara’s mother is still a devout Catholic.
She forces Xiomara to attend a confirmation class, something she should have done sooner, but her best friend Caridad was out of the country, and so they waited.
Xiomara is having doubts about religion at this point in her life, despite the fact that Caridad appears fairly devout. Xiomara’s mother is so devout that when she started her period at the age of eleven, she attempted to use a tampon, and her mother chastised her, questioning if she had lost her virginity.
In her writings, Xiomara expresses some of these emotions. As a tomboy, Xiomara frequently needs to defend her brother, whom she refers to as Twin, despite the fact that he is an hour older and significantly wiser than Xiomara due to his attendance at a private school.
The novel begins just as school begins. Ms. Galiano, one of Xiomara’s professors, informs the students about a Poetry Club that Xiomara finds intriguing. She is aware that she will be unable to go because it meets on Tuesdays when she is required to attend confirmation class.
Her mother is a housekeeper. She is adamant about Xiomara not dating. Ms. Galiano’s first task is to write about the most formative day of her life. She ultimately submits a story of her twelfth birthday, which Twin surprised her with a lovely notebook to use as a journal.
On a Saturday in mid-September, Xiomara goes to a basketball game with Xavier and Caridad. Caridad has been an excellent friend to both of them throughout their lives. Xiomara observes the lads playing as her shirts are unbuttoned.
She discovers that she pays more attention to the opposite sex, despite the fact that their comments about her are frequently improper due to her voluptuous physique. Even when Xiomara attends church, she overhears Father Sean discuss how sinful women are. Her father is a Transit Authority employee.
Xiomara is teamed with a student named Aman in her biology class, whom she admires. When she attempts to inform Caridad, Caridad advises her against desire. Xiomara inquires about the Poetry Club, and Ms. Galiano demonstrates a poetry slam.
Xiomara enjoys hearing from this woman who is so unlike her but shares many of the same emotions. Xiomara returns home and in front of the bathroom mirror rehearse reading one of her poems. When her mother overhears, she claims she is reciting Scripture. At school, Xiomara inquires as to whether Aman has heard the new J. Cole, to which he responds that he prefers Kendrick Lamar.
He advises they spend some time together listening to the CD. They decide to meet after school, despite the fact that Xiomara does not consider it a date, especially given her mother’s prohibition against dating until she graduates from college. Xiomara prepares by ironing her shirt, which she despises doing, in order to ensure her appearance is presentable. This closes the book’s first section.
Xiomara’s brother is extremely intelligent; he is a grade above her in high school. They are no longer as close as they used to be because they attend different schools. They do not communicate with one another about their personal connections.
Aman has been communicating with Xiomara via text. She is having a better time at school and wishes she could join the Spoken Word Poetry Club. Ms. Galiano encloses a note with her assignment, inviting her to attend. When she next meets us with Aman, he requests that she recite one of her poems. She inquires about Aman’s mother, whom he claims was scheduled to accompany him from Trinidad but never arrived.
Father Sean discusses how the narrative of Eve is a parable about overcoming temptation in confirmation class. Xiomara expresses her dissatisfaction with the Bible’s logic. After class, Father Sean speaks with her about how he believes she may wish to discuss something other than Eve. Xiomara notices a photograph of him boxing and inquires as to if he still fights, which he does on a rare occasion.
Xiomara’s second duty for Ms. Galiano is to compose the concluding paragraphs of her biography. She wishes to write about her strength, but instead submits an account of how she became a famous writer who founded a nonprofit organization to assist first-generation adolescent females in attending college.
The relationship between Xiomara and Aman is growing. He inquires about her faith, and when they discuss poetry, she states that she believes her stage name should be the Poet X. Xiomara is curious about who Twin is secretly texting at night, which she detects because they share a room, but she instead asks him about going to a Halloween movie.
The following week, a fire alarm goes off during class, and Xiomara and Aman opt to skip class rather than return. They make out in the park. On the train, Aman invites her to a Halloween party with him, something she wishes to do but knows her mother would never agree.
Xiomara believes that everybody who looks at her can tell she’s been kissing a boy. She inquires of Twin whether he is aware that Father Sean’s mother died, and he responds that it occurred three years ago. Xiomara was taken aback that she had missed it.
Twin returns home a few days later with a black eye, for which Xiomara has no explanation. She texts Caridad to check if she minds if she skips the Halloween movie with her and Twin in order to attend the party with Aman.
Using her brother’s Green Lantern t-shirt and some green eye shadow, Xiomara creates a costume. When she arrives at Reuben’s house, she discovers Aman disguised as the Hulk. They dance together and then Aman asks if she wishes to return to his nearby residence. She declines, but before meeting up with her brother and Caridad, she recites a poem for him.
Caridad invites Xiomara to her residence after Sunday mass to braid her hair. On Monday after school, Xiomara visits Twin at his school and discovers him holding the hand of a red-haired white lad. Twin is taken aback to see her and dismisses her. Twin explains to Xiomara throughout the train ride that the boy’s name is Cody, and Xiomara is certain that her brother is gay.
She writes her third paper for school about how Nicki Minaj is misunderstood. Chris pays a visit to her students to recite a poem and ask them to join a poetry club. Xiomara considers how she would want to compete in February’s Poetry Slam.
Then she recalls how she and Twin used to go ice skating on their birthday, January 8, every year. They had not, however, vanished in recent years. Aman invites her to go ice skating with him on their day off, and she agrees. Aman genuinely enjoys winter sports and is an excellent skater.
As a Trinidadian, he was naturally attracted by snow. She and Aman make out on the train trip home after they skate. When she returns home, she overhears her mother screaming about seeing a disgusting boy with his tongue down her throat.
When her mother eventually drags her from her chamber, she leads her to the Virgin Mary’s altar and forces her to kneel on rice in prayer and repentance. She refers to her as a cuero, the Dominican slang for whore.
Men, according to Xiomara’s mother, are filthy. She cautions X to keep a safe distance from them. When her mother forces her to kneel on the floor, Xiomara discovers her mother’s rough hands from her continual cleaning of other people’s homes.
Twin hands Xiomara a bag of frozen vegetables to place on her knees and another on her cheek when she finally rises. Xiomara reminds Twin that they can depart in a few more years. Her punishments include no cell phone, no socializing, and no church attendance. Twin lends X his phone so she can text Aman, but she’s at a loss for words.
Friday morning, at her locker, a boy bumps into her and squeezes her behind. He says “oops” as if it were an accident, but she is well aware that it is not. She notices Aman watching and begs him to defend her, but he remains immobile. Xiomara shoves the guy in the back and threatens to smear his face with his claws if he touches her again. Then, when she passes Aman, she repeats the same thing, bringing Part 2 to a close.
In Part 3, Xiomara maintains her silence. She requests confession with Father Sean, but he prefers to speak with her privately. It’s strange that her vice is limited to lust, which isn’t really horrible in the grand scheme of things. Father Sean inquires as to whether she is truly remorseful for her sin, to which she admits she is not.
Father Sean argues that perhaps she might seek forgiveness for anything other than the kiss. Father Sean’s Jamaican origins show through when he informs Xiomara’s mother that she may not be ready for confirmation. He serves as a reminder to Altagracia that rage is also a sin. Her mother makes an attempt to contain her rage, but she is enraged that Xiomara is not religious. Xiomara had no intention of injuring anyone simply by kissing a boy.
Twin is watching films in their room when an advertisement featuring a Winter Olympian comes on, which annoys Xiomara. Each day, Xiomara continues to write in her journal, venting her emotions. When she returns home from school, she overhears her mother discussing her summer plans in the Dominican Republic.
Caridad calls the day before Thanksgiving to express her disappointment at not hearing from Xiomara in two weeks. Xiomara is appreciative of the call. They later visit the shelter and assist in feeding the homeless. That day, her mother returned her phone to her, but it was bittersweet because Xiomara had no one to call.
The theme of her fourth writing assignment is the last time she felt free. Xiomara considers the time she read a poem to Aman, who was such an excellent listener, or when she sat on her front doorstep observing passersby, but she ends up writing about Nelson Mandela.
When she receives the assignment returned, she discovers a message from Ms. Galiano requesting to meet with her. She inquires as to what is going on, and Xiomara informs her that she will retake the project and attend poetry club the next day, as Father Sean is no longer expecting her at confirmation class.
Xiomara’s partner in her science class has changed, although she occasionally notices Aman looking at her. She has the feeling that she may have made a mistake as well. Isabelle, who is quite honest and open, greets her at Poetry Club.
Chris and Stephan are also members of the club. They each perform a poem, and finally Xiomara takes the stage. When she is finished, the others become enraged. They make observations about her poem, and Xiomara feels significant.
She dashes to church, where she discovers Caridad waiting outside. Caridad asserts that she informed Xiomara’s mother that she was in the restroom. Caridad discusses an open mic night she’d want to attend.
At school, Xiomara dislikes eating in the cafeteria and prefers to eat in the lavatory. Isabelle discovers her and informs her that she eats in the photography studio and invites Xiomara to join her.
When Xiomara returns home, she hears Twin sobbing. She inquires as to if Cody has struck him again. Twin assures her that Cody would never strike him. Cody’s father is relocating, and as a result, they must relocate, and Cody believes that a long-distance relationship would be too difficult, so he broke up with Xavier.
Xiomara recalls being instructed to phone her mother upon her return. Because she didn’t, her mother is furious with her for failing to do so and for causing Twin to cry, as she believes occurred. She is considering sending Xiomara to the Dominican Republic immediately following winter break rather than waiting until the summer.
Despite her anger, she agrees to let them both attend Caridad’s poetry event. It’s located at the New York Poets Cafe. Xiomara is taken aback when her name is announced as one of the performers.
Caridad confesses to enrolling her. Xiomara feels nervous, but she perseveres. Her brother and Caridad are ecstatic about her accomplishments. The host informs her that she should attend the poetry slam in February, which is the same as the one described by Ms. Galiano.
Xiomara is determined to succeed and devotes all of her spare time to writing. On Mondays, around lunch, she visits the photography room, where Isabelle shares a poem with her. At Poetry Club, she informs the members that she attended an open mic night, which impresses them.
Caridad visits on Christmas Eve, and the family then attends Midnight Mass. When they return home, Xiomara immediately walks to her room, expecting no gifts. Her mother enters and presents her with a resized baby bracelet. Xiomara spends the week following Christmas writing about her family, anticipating sharing at poetry club.
She and her brother receive birthday gifts on January 8. She presented him with an X-men comic book, and he presented her with another notebook. Caridad sings happy birthday to her on her voicemails. Xiomara discovers two tickets to an apple farm in her biology textbook, which she immediately recognizes as being from Aman. Isabelle delivers a cupcake to her.
When Xiomara goes to seek for her journal, she discovers that it is missing, which causes her anxiety. Xiomara checks her phone after Poetry Club and discovers a voicemail from her mother telling her to return home. Her mother discovered and read her journal at home.
She extracts a box of matches and ignites it. Xiomara panics and apologizes, but her mother strikes her when she grabs for it. She reads Scripture while Xiomara screams the lines from her poems. They are both in tears, and Xiomara inquires whether her mother will also burn her, as there is where the poetry are kept.
Twin hurries by and grabs the notepad, at which point Papi arrives and instructs Twin to get the fire extinguisher. Xiomara believes she will never again write a poem. She staggers into the hallway and makes a hasty exit through the front door.
Twin attempts to text Xiomara following her exit from the residence, but she does not respond. Rather than that, she texts Aman to let him know she needs to speak. On her way to the train, she phones Caridad and asks her to check on Twin. It is snowing when she exits at 168th Street.
She takes a whiff of Aman’s fragrance as he reaches for her hand. She notices he’s freezing because he forgot to put on socks and is only wearing a flimsy sweatshirt, and she asks if he’d like to return to his house. She feels awkward approaching his house alone, but he switches on some soca music and they sit on his couch together.
They apologize to one another prior to kissing. Her garments begin to unravel, and while she enjoys it, she is aware that it must come to an end. She feels bad and believes he will tell her to go, but he offers to wipe away her tears with his t-shirt. They watch YouTube highlights of the Winter Games. They are egg and plantain eaters. They then fall asleep together.
Xiomara can inform Ms. Galiano when she gets into class the next day that she is wearing the same clothes she wore yesterday. Ms. Gliano stated that she became concerned after X left Poetry Club and called her family, who sounded concerned because they were unaware of Xiomara’s whereabouts.
Xiomara admits she did not contact them because she despises her mother. She receives support during the day from Aman, Isabelle, and Ms. Galiano, who provides X with her phone number in case of an emergency. She encounters Twin and Caridad outside of school and introduces them to Aman.
They make a pit stop on their way home to get Father Sean. He addresses Xiomara’s mother, who immediately begins to cry. They are capable of making amends and hugging. The family of Xiomara meets with Father Sean once a week to discuss and resolve their issues.
Everyone wishes to attend the Poetry Slam in order to show their support for Xiomara. The regulations stipulate that poetry must be under three minutes in length, be unique, and be devoid of music, costumes, or props. Xiomara cautions herself against fainting, stumbling, or walking away without completing.
She is encouraged by the Poetry Club to perform from the heart. A week earlier, she practices a poem in front of her supportive family. Aman surprises Xiomara with a poem he penned for her prior to the slam. During the slam, Xiomara notices that the entire audience is cheering her on. They celebrate afterwards at her house, and her father joins her in dancing.
Xiomara is required to explain her favorite quote for her fifth writing assignment. She selects a psalm that speaks of the power of words. She believes in their capacity for transformation and compares poetry to a lantern burning in the dark.