Poet Amanda Gorman stole the show while making history at the 59th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 as the youngest inaugural poet. Her standout spoken word performance of her work, “The Hill We Climb,” captured America’s attention.
In 2017, she was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate in the U.S., making history at just 19, as noted by Milken Scholars. The Harvard grad began her poetry career at age 16 when she published a collection of her work. The book helped her receive invitations to the White House where she performed for the Obamas. She also recited her poetry for other prominent political figures and even Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Being raised by a single mother who worked as an English teacher paved the way for her love for writing. She’s credited writing for being her way of getting through challenges. “I had a speech impediment,” Gorman told CBS News in January 2021. “And so I couldn’t use my voice, then I would author my voice on the page. So it’s really been a godsend and a lifeline for me,” she said. She noted how poetry helped her overcome her impediment. “Once I arrived at the point in my life in high school, where I said, ‘ … Writing my poems on the page isn’t enough for me,'” she shared. “‘I have to give them breath, and life, I have to perform them as I am.’ That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”
How Amanda Gorman put the 'pedal to the metal' on Inauguration Day
Amanda Gorman only has plans of living in Washington D.C. in the future due to her aspiration of running for President in 2036, CBS News reported. She continued her reign of political-led performances when she shared her original composition, “The Hill We Climb,” at the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“It’s amazing… especially at my age,” she told the outlet. “No one really gets to say, ‘At 22, I am the inaugural poet,'” she said of her historic role in the country. She explained how she prepared for the momentous occasion and how the riots at the U.S. Capitol helped her put together her piece. “On the Wednesday in which we saw the insurrection at the Capitol, that was the day that the poem really came to life. And I really put pedal to the metal,” Gorman said. “I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday for me really just underscored how much that was needed,” she said.
As a future presidential hopeful, Gorman has already gotten an early start at building a fanbase and recognizing the power of her voice. “Poetry is a weapon,” she explained. “It is an instrument of social change… and one of the most political arts out there.” It’s clear that Amanda Gorman is here to stay.
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