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Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  361 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths is a collection of folkloric poems centered on the historical, mythological, gendered and geographic experiences of a first generation American woman. From the border in the Dominican Republic, to the bustling streets of New York City, Acevedo considers how some bodies must walk through the world as beastly beings. How these forgotten myths b ...more
Paperback, 42 pages
Published October 15th 2016 by YesYes Books

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Average rating 4.34  · 
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Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-writers
BOOK REVIEW IS UP ON YT! Go watch it! ;)


Elizabeth Acevedo is one of my favorite writers. She hasn't been established as a writer for all that long (around 5 years now) and so her catalogue of published novels is still small: The Poet X, With the Fire On High and Clap When You Land. However, she has been around as a poet and spoken word artist for literal decades now.

And even when reading her novel or her novels in verse it become clear that Elizabeth Acevedo is deeply rooted in lyricism and
Scarllet ✦ iamlitandwit
For superstitions: treat them like salt, scatter them before you leave
and let them impale themselves into the soles of your feet.
This chapbook was so different from The Poet X and just as beautiful. It was such a quick read but it packed a punch, I'd say my absolute top favorite of the collection has to be Conversations because of the way she displayed mother/daughter relationships in Dominican culture so damn well. Elizabeth Acevedo has this way with language that is otherworldly yet so utterly
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I absolutely loved the combination of origin stories and modern, personal stories. What a beautiful collection.
Thistle & Verse
Jun 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Poetry's good. Most of the poems are about everyday stuff, which isn't my preference (I tend to prefer poetry that's more abstract). Misogyny and Dominican history are recurring topics. Favorite poems were La Ciguapa and For the Poet Who Told Me Rats Aren't Noble Enough Creatures for a Poem. ...more
3.5 stars.

This was a unique poetry collection. First, the font size was miniscule! I would've appreciated a bigger font. lol. And this is a tiny poetry collection. $12 is a lot for 42 pages. But I bought from my local independent bookstore so it's all good. I liked some of the poems, some I didn't, and some I just plain didn't get. lol. But it was a quick read.
Meagan Cahuasqui
This is a incredibly short collection, a chapbook really, but these poems will haunt me. Such beautiful language and rhythm and insight to Afro-Latinx Dominican culture. Definitely a must read.
May 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2021
I honestly can't find the words to describe how much I loved these poems. This collection is incredible. ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"La Negra is a beastgirl. From forehead to heel callused. Risen on an island made of shit bricks, an empire."

I know a lot of people praised The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. Check out her poetry book Beastgirl as well. It was only 30 pages but the poems are an amazing take on Dominican culture with a splash of folklore/mythology.

May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Acevedo,

Beastgirl by Elizabeth Acevedo is a phenomenal poetry book. This book is more about real world problems and things that people do that are shameful the reality of the world.

I personally did not understand all of the poems I think that the concepts were more for adults than for children. The poems imagery was really good and that made me understand more of what was going on in each poem. The poems weren’t all part of the same story they were almost completely differ
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I appreciated Beastgirl for what it was, even though my expectations of what it would be were different. I initially anticipated Acevedo making more blatant use of Dominican folklore and legend, but upon reflection, can see that even if she didn't directly recount those tales, the ghosts and enduring presence of them are ones she wove into the poems about her own life experiences. It was also interesting to see how some of these poems ("Conversations," "Pressing," "It Almost Curdles My Dry Womb, ...more
Amy Layton
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible book!  Each poem was rife with amazing description and themes that felt personal and culturally informed.  It was beautiful, to experience these poems, and to be able to gain more insight into Acevedo's mind and how it works.  My favorite poem was the one about Dominican superstitions and how they differ from American superstitions.  This is a fantastic compilation of poetry, and if you liked The Poet X, you absolutely cannot miss out on this.

Review cross-listed here!
Kelsey  May
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This 32-page edition from YesYes Books‘ Vinyl 45 Series is a quick read but demands an almost-immediate re-read, with many lingering tales of superstitions and personal anecdotes. Many pieces paint a beautiful homage to Acevedo’s Dominican ancestry and cultural traditions, with a little imagination sprinkled in. Poems that explore Trujillo, La Ciguapa, and brujeria mingle with pieces that take on a more personal note, from her family’s immigration to her own body. One of my favorite themes of Be ...more
Bill DeGenaro
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had the pleasure of hearing Acevedo read her work in Detroit the other night and immediately wanted to hear more. "Beastgirl" has such a distinct, accessible (but not "easy") voice. Almost every poem has a moment of real surprise, and there are a few shocks too. Acevedo beautifully integrates Dominican tradition into much of "Beastgirl," while also telling contemporary stories that feel new and immediate. Hoping to read even more of her work--including a forthcoming (soon, I understand) collec ...more
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-reads
So fantastic, again Acevedo writing on identity, family,womanhood, race is so relatable to me and she writes so clearly and beautifully. Also by doing further research on some of the topics some poems are written about I learned some really important historical events regarding Haitian, Spanish history which made those poems even more impactful.

My favorites:
- Conversations
- It Almost Curdles My Womb Dry
- Mami Came To This Country as a Nanny
- Liminalities
- Beloved (for Jordan Davis)
- Pareja
- Domi
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was very rough, but also very important. I had originally been introduced to this poetry collection with the idea of the anthology being Teen or Young Adult and was therefore very surprised during my reading. I am very glad that this was read before it was put out and was moved to the Adult section, because while it is very moving and important, it is also very, very graphic and sometimes heartbreaking or triggering.
Laura Vultaggio
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful, gritty, collection of folkloric poetry outlining the experiences of young women in the Dominican Republic and New York City. This collection rebukes the idea that only certain symbols or topics are worthy of poetry. Acevedo writes about her own experiences growing up in New York and the experiences of her family members growing up in the DR. There are many themes in these poems that are also present in her amazing novels, which I love so very much.
Caylie Ratzlaff
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is only 35 pages but I am always amazed by Acevedo’s words and the stories she crafts. These poems aren’t precisely meant for me, as they’re rooted in Afro-Latina and Dominican roots, but the way with words is BEAUTIFUL. These are also more serious and mature than her YA verses, but they pack the same lunch.

Did I spend like $10 for 35 pages of Acevedo’s first chapbook? Yes. Do I regret it? No.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Elizabeth Acevedo's chapbook is a lovely and encapsulating collection of poems. They are powerful sometimes sweet, sometimes morose. They go back and forth between Dominican folklore and experiences in today's America. I especially admired Acevedo's reflections on Afrolatinx identity. My favorite poems were "Beloved" and "For the Poet Who Told Me Rats Aren't Noble Enough Creatures for a Poem." ...more
Nicole Mattingly
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Acevedo again does a phenomenal job with poetry and how enriching it is for the heart and soul. The imagery she creates with each poem is remarkable and necessary. While it’s a quick read, the impact that the words left continue to linger and resonate through the mind and bones. Goosebumps were left from the real stories and emotion felt with each word.
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
thank god this was about something. sometimes good poetry makes you think, are other people even trying? and elizabeth acevedo is so fucking good.

Because if anything this body is the pure
holy of instinct

like closing your eyes
and guiding an earring
into long ago pierced flesh.

Sharpened Shrapnel A spearhead
Worthwhile coming-of-age collection, the highlights being the poem(s) regarding or alluding to rape culture, growing up being Dominican-American, and the rich intermingled poems on Dominican culture, superstitions, and mythologies.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a short but powerful collection reflecting deep into what it means to be Afro-latinx and the experiences that go along with that. I haven’t met a poem by Elizabeth Acevedo that I don’t love and these are no exception.
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short, but containing so many strong poems.

"Beloved" and "For the Poet Who Told Me Rats Aren't Noble Enough Creatures for a Poem" stood out--plus others. "Mami Came to this Country as a Nanny," too.
South Brunswick High School Library
To me, this slim volume reads as though I am examining the beloved journal of Xiomara from The Poet X. The poems shared capture Dominican myths, family traditions, and adolescent truths and makes a great companion for Acevedo’s debut novel.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
"You taught me that- how to cross my ankles
but sharpen my daggers, how to hoist myself at the water's edge,
how to pose pretty then file my nails into stones, twirl
in circles of rum-scented cigar smoke. Here, now, alone."
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Acevedo’s poetry is magic.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I like Acevedo's poetry. My favorite poem in this book is called 'For the Poet Who Told Me Rats Aren't Noble Enough Creatures for a Poem'. ...more
Mario Pimental
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Sofia Araya
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A short, quick read of poetry. Beautifully written. I had to read several of them over and over again! The poem "Pareja" really stuck with me! ...more
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ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is a New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Poet X, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She is also the recipient of the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award. Additionally, she w ...more

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