An ode to pushing back

Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo

“This is for all the rats in the room.”

Elizabeth Acevedo’s poem about rats wasn’t supposed to be written. While pursuing an MFA, she had to choose an animal to be the subject of an ode, a poem of gratitude and praise. When she chose the rat, the animal she knew best growing up in New York City, the professor grunted a laugh and said rats aren’t “noble” enough to write about.

She did it anyway.

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Acevedo, now a bestselling writer, spoke at the 2018 UnidosUS Annual Conference in Washington, DC. She told the audience that her story is similar to others’, but that it’s also wholly unique. We each have stories that may share similarities, but are ultimately ours alone. But there’s power in the stories being woven together.

“Each of our stories form the collective fabric of who we are,” she said. That fabric stretches back for generations, and as she shows in another poem, will continue to be woven for generations to come.

Acevedo’s novel written in verse, The Poet X, made the New York Times Best Seller list earlier this year. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

By John Marth, UnidosUS Senior Content Specialist

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