Another stroke of luck for us here at YARN, and for you, dear reader, because we get to share with you these gorgeous outtakes from “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo. One of our most anticipated reads of 2018, this book is finally out in the world today, so you can rush right off and get your own copy as soon as you’ve read these snippets. Happy book birthday to “The Poet X,” and hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!
Below are two pieces of text that did not make the final cut for “The Poet X.”
“On Talking,” the first one was written during the early stages of Xiomara, the main character, falling for her love interest Aman. I think it gets across that initial wonder of feeling like everything the person you like says holds immense gravity. There is another poem in the novel that is like a sibling to this one and I didn’t think I needed both, but I do think some of the figurative language here shows how Xiomara sees the world.
Throughout the novel, Xiomara is challenged with a writing prompt from her teacher, Ms. Galiano. The pattern is that Xiomara always writes the rough draft as a poem that usually shows a lot of what she really things, but the final draft is always an essay that’s scrubbed down from what she actually believes and is a more curtailed version of her actual thoughts. The second piece here, “When I Grow Old” was a rough draft.
I am used to using words.
Throwing them like knives
to pin a joker to the wall.
To hoarding them in my cheek
like a hamster; saving them for
a better day.
Aman, he does not say much.
His words are like a girl’s
sweet sixteen song,
a married couple’s first dance,
a song that isn’t always played on the radio
but when it breaks open the silence
it marks an occasion to love.
Assignment—Rough Draft – What do you think your older self would think of you now?
WHEN I AM OLD
Years from now
decorate my skin
when my bones rattle
mimicking a bag of coins
when my hair is no longer
full and thick
but this wisps of moon
I will shake my head
a wistful smile tugging
at the corner of my lips
taking a walk
down the streets of memories
I will wonder at younger me
who thought she knew so much,
who knew was so confused,
who needed rules—if only to break them
I will wonder at the girl I once was
and think, “If only she knew what I know now,”
and be so thankful that she didn’t.
Elizabeth Acevedo is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland and she is a National Poetry Slam Champion. “The Poet X” (HarperCollins, 2018) is her debut novel.