The 22-year-old writer and first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate took the country’s breath away as she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” and became an inspiration for the next generation.
During the final moments of a breathtaking, historic Inauguration Day, where President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris (the first female, Black, and Asian vice president) were sworn into office, all eyes were on a young, rising star named Amanda Gorman. The 22-year-old from Los Angeles, California performed her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the ceremony, becoming the youngest Inaugural Poet in U.S. history
Here is what we know about Amanda Gorman:
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Gorman fell in love with poetry after hearing her teacher read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” to the class. She then turned to writing to cope with her speech impediment. Similar to how President Biden had a stutter growing up, Gorman had difficulty pronouncing certain sounds.
“I don’t look at my disability as a weakness,” Gorman told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be. When you have to teach yourself how to say sounds, when you have to be highly concerned about pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sonics, of the auditory experience.”
At age 14, Gorman joined WriteGirl, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that promotes creativity and self-expression to empower girls, attending their monthly creative writing workshops and working one-on-one with writing mentors.
“WriteGirl has been pivotal in my life. It’s been thanks to their support that I’ve been able to chase my dreams as a writer,” Gorman told NBC. “Special shout-out to my former mentors Michelle and Dinah. Couldn’t have gotten here without you!”
Two of Amanda Gorman’s books have reached the top of Amazon’s book charts after she delivered a beloved performance during the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY! Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then,'” she wrote on Twitter.
Her two books, The Hill We Climb: Poems and Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, were the top of Amazon’s general bestseller book charts, they also topped at least one of Amazon’s children’s books charts.
Both books will be released on September 21 but that did not stop new fans of Gorman from pre-ordering them in droves.
America was in awe when the 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate delivered a stirring recitation of her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” on Inauguration Day.
Some of the country’s greatest wordsmiths, like Maya Angelou and Robert Frost, have delivered the inauguration poem, but Gorman is the youngest person to ever deliver a poem at a U.S. inauguration in the country’s history.
Decked out in a vibrant yellow coat, Gorman spoke passionately about the highs and lows America has underwent.
“Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed, a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished. We the successors of a country and a time, Where a skinny Black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother, can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one,” she said.
“And yes we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are, striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge a union with purpose,” she continued. “To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.”
Gorman spoke about the help Winfrey provided on Twitter.
“Thank you! I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in,” she wrote.
“While reciting my poem, I wore a ring with a caged bird—a gift from Oprah for the occasion, to symbolize Maya Angelou, a previous inaugural poet. Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before,” she added.
Thank you! I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in. While reciting my poem, I wore a ring with a caged bird—a gift from @Oprah for the occasion, to symbolize Maya Angelou, a previous inaugural poet. Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before. https://t.co/5Tegd20sko