Elizabeth Acevedo

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Elizabeth Acevedo in 2011

Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and author.


  • I often wish I was asked more about the craft of the verse. I spent so many agonizing hours ensuring every line break was precise, every word and repetition chosen with care—because it was important to me to maintain the integrity of the lyric while also advancing the narrative. It’s that tightrope walk I’m studying in other people’s work and am continuously looking to understand further.
  • I think I have a sense of how things need to sound, how to pull an audience in with tone, timing, and pacing. That affects a lot of my writing, too, being hyper aware of how an audience might read something. I want what’s happening on the page to mimic what my body would do on stage. A lot of that came out in the audiobook. I think I would have struggled to record the audiobook without having stage experience because it’s a lot of work to maintain that kind of performance voice.
  • I try to tell the most authentic stories I can about womanhood and Dominican-ness and Afro-Dominican-ness/Afro-Latinidad that I can. Then I go back in and edit with the eye of who sets the table in this book, who gets left out, what am I saying, and what am I not saying right? I lean in or be more intentional about that. For me, it’s trying to be authentic and mindful of my own biases and questioning those while also just being incredibly truthful since truthfulness is inherently intersectional, right? I can’t not be woman and Black-descendant and culturally Latinx. Everything I write will have that in it.
  • Part of it is finding your readers. Sometimes your readers don’t look like you, or come from your same background, but you get a sense of like, they know what I’m trying to do. They’re not telling me what they would do or telling me what their favorite poet would do. They’re telling me “Okay, based off the work you brought into this room, this is what I’m hearing.” That, to me, is such a generous way of reading because it’s reflecting back what you’re doing and you can figure out if it’s working or not. So, figure out who are your people…

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