On Tuesday, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman became an overnight star with her spirited recitation of her poem titled, The Hill We Climb, at the inauguration ceremony of the new US president, Joe Biden.
Her strong-worded poem addressed the chaotic events of a mob attack on the Capitol Hills, divisive politics in the US, and ended on a hopeful note of freedom and democracy.
Few excerpts from the poem reads:
"We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
Of such a terrifying hour.
But within it we've found the power
To author a new chapter,
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves."
With this performance, Amanda created history as she became the youngest ever poet to read at the presidential inaugurations since John. F. Kennedy invited Robert Frost in 1961.
During the inauguration, Amanda said that she will run for president in 2036, and has already received former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s blessings.
Reportedly, it was First Lady Jill Biden, a fan of Gorman’s work, who convinced the inaugural committee to have the young woman on board for the ceremony.
Jill Biden first heard Amanda perform ‘In This Place: An American Lyric’ three years ago in 2017. The poem was displayed at Morgan Library and Museum.
During her inaugural performance, Amanda wore a caged bird ring in honour of her inspiration, renowned poet Maya Angelou, who was also an inaugural poet when Bill Clinton was sworn in as President in 1992. The ring was gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) January 20, 2021
Born in Los Angeles in 1998, Amanda was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of LA at the age of 16. Three years later in 2017, she became the first National Youth Poet Laureate ever in US history.
A sociology graduate from Harvard University, Amanda is also the Founder and Executive Director of One Pen One Page — an organisation dedicated to promoting literacy through youth writing and leadership programmes.
Amanda has also performed in the U.S. Library of Congress to the observation deck at the Empire State Building.
(Edited by Anju Narayanan)