Young poet Amanda Gorman stuns at Presidential Inauguration


Carlos M. Vazquez

Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

January 20th, 2021: A day that will go down in history for a variety of reasons. Whether it be the inauguration of the new President of the United States, Joe Biden; the historic swearing in of Vice President Kamala Harris as she broke multiple milestones; or the musical performances that captivated many; the day-long celebration was one to remember. However, it was one young woman who stole the show with her outstanding, emotion-evoking words portrayed through her original poem.

At the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, Amanda Gorman displayed her impressive poetry skills through her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” The poem encompassed the theme of the inauguration, representing a hopeful unity for our country in spite of the tragic events that unfolded at the Capitol building just two weeks prior. In an interview with CBS This Morning, Amanda touched on this intention saying, “I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday (the day of the insurrection at the Capitol) for me really just underscored how much that was needed.”

Growing up the daughter of an English teacher, Amanda Gorman was introduced to poetry at an early age and has found a passion in the subject. Gorman, the youth poet laureate, is the youngest poet to recite a poem at the Presidential Inauguration. At just 22 years old, Gorman is known for her role as an activist through her poetry. Focusing largely on issues of injustice with race and gender, Gorman has already begun to make an impact on the fight for equality in a variety of ways. 

Gorman’s poem opens with, “When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” This moving opening line resonates with the tragic events that have unfolded in the last year and mark the first step towards a brighter future. The poet received praise from celebrities around the world for this opening line and her poem as a whole. Famous talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey took to twitter to express her clear enthusiasm and support for the poet, tweeting, “I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering– and so am I.” 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama also tweeted at the star poet saying, “With her strong and poignant words, @TheAmandaGorman reminds us of the power we each hold in upholding our democracy. Keep shining, Amanda! I can’t wait to see what you do next. #BlackGirlMagic.” Clearly, the effects of the poet’s words were far-reaching and long-lasting, stretching from coast to coast in the wake of the inauguration. The future is bright for the young poet as she has already booked new opportunities, including performing at the Super Bowl pregame show and singing with IMG Models.

Ultimately, it was the deep words of an emotional poem from a young and rising poet that managed to move a whole nation on Inauguration Day. Making history on an already very historic day has certainly provided Amanda Gorman with the platform that will allow her to further her career as a poet and activist, while also contributing positively to the movement of women and people of color in positions of power. The world should expect to see more from the poet in years to come, as her meaningful words continue to make a reaching impact.