A high school just outside Columbus, Ohio assigned ninth graders the slam poetry book The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo, about a 15-year-old Dominican girl, Xiomara Batista, living in Harlem, New York. The book shows her walking away from her Catholic faith, is laced with dozens of uses of profanity, and gives graphic descriptions of sexual activity.
The book is written in poetic form, and “slam poetry” refers to competitions were poets perform their work before an audience and a panel of judges. One reviewer on Amazon, “Mom from Boston,” wrote:
Parents beware of mature content! This book was assigned as required summer reading for my 9th grader who is 14. Thankfully I read it before him so we can discuss the content prior to him reading. Themes include sneaking behind parents backs to engage in sexual activity, masturbation, physical abuse, smoking pot, underage drinking, turning your back on God and questioning the Bible and having a gay sibling. Some of the pages were outright embarrassing for me to read because they sounded like porn! I can’t imagine a 9th grade English class discussing them. Continue reading from The Daily Citizen.