Here at RCM, we love books. We also love any opportunity participate in an awesome book club. So we decided to smoosh the two together and create the virtual Rocket City Mom Book Club! More info about our next title is below, and you can request to join the conversation here. Happy reading!
This month’s RCM Virtual Book Club title is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Join us virtually on Thursday, April 22 at 8:30 PM CST. If you can’t make it at THAT time, check back in throughout the week to keep the discussion going. Big thanks to The Snail On the Wall Books for sponsoring our title selections, and Shannan for her review below!
Spoilers ahead. Continue at your own risk!
The Poet X Review
I first read The Poet X in September 2020 with the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. Anne Bogel gushed about it and then members started gushing. It’s a novel-in-verse, which I had never read before and was sure I would hate because I don’t particularly care for poetry. Some of it is fine but an entire novel – hard pass. Covid had been raging for a while and my brain was tired. But afraid of FOMO (fear of missing out), I gave it a shot.
It blew me away! First, with the story of Xiomara and her confusion, her longings, her dreams. I was taken all the way in. Second, the words on the page are just “Wow!” How Acevedo structures the poems; where lines start and when they end. I don’t know why she did everything that she did, I just know that it’s masterful. Third, Acevedo’s words in the ear provide a totally different reading experience. She is a spoken-word artist and reads the audio book herself. I had the pleasure of hearing her read a chapter live and I can’t unhear the authority of her voice, the fluctuation of her cadence, the sincerity and passion of her words. [“I am NOT an ANT!”] And finally, with the meaning, the why of the story. At the end of the work, Acevedo explains why I selected the book for us.
She quotes Psalm 199:130, another lengthy work of poetry.
“The unfolding of your words gives light,
It gives understanding to the simple.”
Raised in a conservative Christian home, I am very familiar with this passage. I always understood it to reference God’s words. But Acevedo invited me to think about the text a bit differently when she continues, “I love this quote because even though it’s not about poetry, it IS about poetry. It’s about any of the words that bring us together…”
- When Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club was founded five years ago in August of 2016, it was with the ideas to:
Allow mothers to escape the seemingly endless chores of motherhood. I was in the thick of diapers and spit up (and more diapers) and longed for anything to ease the monotony.
- Form a community of readers, bringing us together, to explore the world together, providing different views and perspectives. We’d all agree with some of what we read because the universality of being a mother, and we’d strongly disagree with others because we are all unique in the world.
- Prompt us to learn a new thing or two about motherhood and about life.
Although I am a woman of color, during the controversy that swirled around American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, I realized how little I knew about the experience of the Latinx community. I recognized my need to read more broadly and frankly, I was a bit ashamed. We have read few, if any, Latinx authors for our Book Club.
So I wanted to read The Poet X with you! To open our horizons with this different format (a novel-in-verse) and cultural heritage (from an author of the Latinx community). It is so layered, full of everything, full of life. And we GOTTA to talk about the mother!
Chat with the Us!
Join us to discuss all this and more on Thursday, April 22 at 8:30 PM CDT on the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club Facebook page. Many thanks to our local, independent, and virtual book store, The Snail on the Wall for being our sponsor. See you there.
We will discuss this and many other interesting aspects of The Poet X at our Virtual Meeting on Facebook, Thursday, April 22 at 8:30 PM CT. See you there!
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Shannan Moore Malone squeezes in the time to write while taking care of the Buddy Man. As you already know, she loves books but she also loves great movies, running, and is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a foodie. Though generally more on the quiet side, you can get her talking by mentioning living authentically, the importance of clarity and organization, and enjoying life, which she occasionally writes about on her blog her blog and posts about on Instagram.