Francisco X. Alarcon

Poetry Writing Project #3 Option: B

Why do we send our children to schools? We want to prepare them for the future. In this process of preparation teachers are responsible for teaching students how to read, write, think critically and speak correctly. While it is the responsibility of the teacher to teach students how to be literate there are many challenges that they have to overcome. One of the main connections with illiteracy is poverty. This is prevalent in our current diverse community with the continued rise of child poverty. The following poet can show us a realistic perspective because he had to face adversity and comes from a family with illiteracy problems.

Meet Francisco X. Alarcon

He was born in California in 1954 but “grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico”. He is a first generation writer, poet and teacher. Image 1 (Poetry Foundation)

“The X in My Name”

By Francisco X. Alarcon

The poor


of my illiterate

and peasant


giving away

all rights

in a deceiving

contract for life

The poem above appealed to me not only because I aspire to become a teacher, but because my grandparents are illiterate immigrants. It is one of my goals to help eliminate the problem of illiteracy.

Works Found in Our Text by This Author

Frontera/Border, 887 and X in My Name, The, 935


This is a simple poem with only 9 lines and no rhyme is an example of an open form poem. We can see Alarcon use symbolism, end stopped pauses and persona to get his message across. Symbolism represents not only the poet’s middle initial but a signature of someone who is illiterate. Pauses that are end stopped these stress the seriousness of the topic and help set the tone. Persona shows the character the author is adopting in this poem is someone who signed their life away because they were illiterate. Unfortunately due to Alarcon's upbringing he was surrounded by illiteracy and perhaps saw to many have to leave their mark and have consequences of being taken advantage of for not understanding what it is they were signing. I think that the theme this poem is portraying is the connection between poverty and illiteracy and being cheated because they were unable to understand.


Image 1 -Portrait of Francisco X. Alarcon. Digital image. Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.

"Francisco X. Alarcón." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015. <>.

This website was easy to navigate and contained some examples of Alarcon’s work along with some basic demographic information. Overall it may not be the best resource for an in depth research paper but at a glance it allows you to get acquainted with the Poet.

"Francisco X. Alarcon." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2015. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.

This was a great biography article that had personal information, his career, awards he had received and list of all his completed works. When I searched this poet using the Literature Resource Center 21 articles came up. Of the 21 articles which came up 2 were biographies, 3 literature criticism and 16 reviews and news articles. I chose this biography article because it is the most recent and is set up in a format that is not difficult to understand.