When I Hear the Song “Mi Viejo” by Piero

Elizabeth Acevedo

As soon as I read Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X, I knew there was a brilliant poetic voice illuminating the future. Acevedo is a performance poet whose beautiful free verse crosses over for both adult and teen readers. The Poet X is a verse novel with so much rhythm that it could be performed as musical theater. The story is both sensitive and energetic, emotionally complex and accessible. The Poet X asks quiet questions, but it asks them with a beat. The story explores immigration, relationships, and coming of age. Many of the poems are bilingual, written in confident Spanglish. The protagonist grows, loses some Dominican traditions, and learns to value others. Above all, she gains her individuality and freedom of expression, granting the reader a sense of hope. Elizabeth Acevedo offers a voice that young readers need.

Margarita Engle, author of The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom and Poetry Foundation 2017–2019 Young People's Poet Laureate

today, miles and years from Papi’s record player,
the night unrolls itself into blue linoleum,
the guitar strings my extended hand in his direction.

I killed him for almost half my childhood.
We are taught many things by counting time, even this.

If this was the only father I had to claim,
I preferred him buried in memory.

Now, his records drag like a long breath 
between the pause of songs.

He should have danced with me more often.


Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo is a New York Times best selling author. She is the winner of a National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal, and the Michael L. Printz Award. Her books include The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), With The Fire On High (HarperCollins, 2019), and Clap When You Land (HarperCollins, 2020). Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion and resides in Washington, DC with her love.

Elizabeth's Articles on KGB LitMag