Amanda Gorman, poet

Amanda Gorman, poet. Photo: Anna Zhang

Amanda Gorman to Read at Inauguration

The 22-year-old from Los Angeles will read a poem at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Gorman says she was contacted late last month by the Biden inaugural committee. She has known numerous public figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama, but says she will be meeting the Bidens for the first time. The Bidens, apparently, have been aware of her: Gorman says the inaugural officials told her she had been recommended by the incoming first lady, Jill Biden.

She is calling her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” while otherwise declining to preview any lines. Gorman says she was not given specific instructions on what to write, but was encouraged to emphasize unity and hope over “denigrating anyone” or declaring “ding, dong, the witch is dead” over the departure of President Trump.

Amanda Gorman reads her poem, ‘The Miracle of Morning’

Gorman’s poem “The Miracle of Morning,” was written last spring, in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. The poem offers a pocket of hope: “While we might feel small, separate, and all alone,/ Our people have never been more closely tethered.”

In other writings, Gorman has honored her Black ancestors, acknowledged and reveled in her own vulnerability (“Glorious in my fragmentation,” she has written) and confronted social issues. Her poem “In This Place (An American Lyric),” written for the 2017 inaugural reading of U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, condemns the racist march in Charlottesville, Virginia ( “tiki torches string a ring of flame”) and holds up her art form as a force for democracy.

Visit the wordsmith’s website,www.theamandagorman.com.

 

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