Elizabeth Acevedo


ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is a New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Poet X, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She is also the recipient of the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award. Additionally, she was honored with the 2019 Pure Belpré Author Award for celebrating, affirming, and portraying Latinx culture and experience. Her books include, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes 2016), The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), & With The Fire On High (HarperCollins, 2019). She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer’s Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, and resides in Washington, DC with her love. Source



Camina conmigo.

Salsa swagger

anywhere she go


'¡la negra tiene tumbao!


Dance to the rhythm.

Beat the drums of my skin.


the rhythms within.

The first language

I spoke was Spanish.

Learned from lullabies

whispered in my ear.

My parents’ tongue

was a gift

which I quickly forgot

after realizing

my peers did not understand it. 

They did not understand me.

So I rejected

habichuela y mangú,

much preferring Happy Meals

and Big Macs.

Straightening my hair

in imitation of Barbie.

I was embarrassed

by my grandmother’s

colorful skirts

and my mother’s

eh brokee inglee

which cracked my pride

when she spoke.

So, [  ], I would poke fun

at her myself,

hoping to lessen

the humiliation.

Proud to call myself


a citizen

of this nation,

I hated

Caramel-color skin.

Cursed God

I’d been born

the color of cinnamon.

How quickly we forget

where we come from.

So remind me,

remind me

that I come from

the Taínos of the río

the Aztec,

the Mayan,

Los Incas,

los Españoles

con sus fincas

buscando oro,

and the Yoruba Africanos

que con sus manos

built a mundo

nunca imaginado.

I know I come

from stolen gold.

From cocoa,

from sugarcane,

the children

of slaves

and slave masters.

A beautifully tragic mixture,

a sancocho

of a race history.

And my memory

can't seem to escape

the thought

of lost lives

and indigenous rape.

Of bittersweet bitterness,

of feeling innate,

the soul of a people,

past, present and fate,

our stories cannot

be checked into boxes.

They are in the forgotten.

The undocumented,

the passed-down spoonfuls

of arroz con dulce

a la abuela's knee.

They're the way our hips


to the beat of cumbia,


y salsa.

They're in the bending

and blending

of backbones.

We are deformed

and reformed


It's in the sway

of our song,

the landscapes

of our skirts,

the azúcar

beneath our tongues.

We are

the unforeseen children.

We're not a cultural wedlock,

hair too kinky for Spain,

too wavy for dreadlocks.

So our palms

tell the cuentos

of many tierras.

Read our lifeline,

birth of intertwine,


and starshine.

We are every

ocean crossed.

North Star navigates

our waters.

Our bodies

have been bridges.

We are the sons

and daughters,

el destino de mi gente,




Viviremos para siempre


hasta la muerte.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:






Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence