Amanda Gorman – Poems, Books and Quotes
American poet and activist Amanda Gorman reached a global audience when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” during the inauguration of President Joe Biden in 2021.
Who is Amanda Gorman?
Amanda Gorman was named America’s first National Young Poet Laureate in 2017. In 2021, she became the youngest poet to write and read her work at a presidential inauguration. The 22-year-old captivated Biden’s inauguration audience with “The Hill We Climb,” which referenced both a painful history and hope for the future. Gorman also read a poem at the Super Bowl in 2021, co-hosted the 2021 Met Gala and was named an Estée Lauder Global Changemaker. In addition to poetry, Gorman is an activist who champions climate issues, equality and education. She has been interested in a presidential race since she was 11 and plans to run in 2036, the first cycle in which she will be old enough to be elected. Prior to performing, Gorman recites the following mantra: “I am the daughter of black writers descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.”
Amanda Gorman was born on March 7, 1998 in Los Angeles, California to Joan Wicks. She and her twin sister Gabrielle were born prematurely.
Gorman grew up with a speech impediment and was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder in kindergarten. This meant she had trouble pronouncing the letter “r” until she was 20. Gorman explained in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, “I was born early, with my twin, and often, for infants, that can lead to learning delays.”
Gorman participated in speech therapy. She also found the hamilton soundtrack as a useful tool for pronouncing “r” sounds. “I was listening to the ‘Aaron Burr, Sir’ track and trying to do it over and over and over again,” she said.
His situation presented difficulties, but also had advantages. Gorman shared with Winfrey, “I think it made me even stronger as a writer when you have to teach yourself to say words from scratch. When you learn to speak English through poetry, it gives you a great understanding of sound, tone, pronunciation, so I consider my speech impediment not as a weakness or a handicap, but as one of my greatest strengths.”
Gorman grew up in West Los Angeles and attended the progressive New Roads private school in Santa Monica. While his mother taught middle school English in Watts, Gorman learned about the disparities in educational opportunity.
Gorman was a youth delegate to the United Nations when she was 16. She attended Harvard University, where she majored in sociology. Gorman graduated with honors, remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020.
Writing and poetry
At the age of 5, Gorman woke up his mother early in the morning because she wanted paper to write on. Hearing Ray Bradbury’s poem “Dandelion Wine” in third grade was another early connection to his love of poetry. However, Gorman said in 2021: “I actually started writing poetry before I started reading it, mostly because at the time poetry wasn’t something that was taught in a robust way. in my classrooms.”
In middle school, Gorman read poems by Sonia Sanchez, whom she adored. Then dive into Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of African American Poetry left Gorman feeling even more connected to poetry. She developed her love of writing with mentors from the nonprofit organization WriteGirl. She then performed for WriteGirl, The Moth and Urban Word.
At age 16, Gorman was named an LA Youth Poet Laureate. She became the first National Young Poet Laureate in 2017. Her organization One Pen One Page was founded to promote youth literacy and creativity.
Gorman’s work has been published in The one for whom food is not enough (2015), The hill we climb: an inaugural poem for the country (2021), and Call us what we wear (2021). The poetry in Call us what we wear is inspired by the experience lived during the Covid-19 pandemic. Gorman also researched events like the 1918 flu pandemic for his work.
Gorman wrote the children’s book Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem (2021). She described it as a “poetic rallying cry for children who want to make a difference”.
Another interest of Gorman is writing novels. “Writing novels was my original love, and I still hope to do so. I can usually finish writing a single poem faster than I can write an entire narrative book!”
Inaugural Poem: “The Hill We Climb”
Dr. Jill Biden, who had seen Gorman perform, suggested Gorman write a poem for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. In late December 2020, Biden’s Inaugural Committee invited Gorman to perform at the inauguration.
To prepare for this, Gorman read speeches by Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. She also studied the work of previous inaugural poets such as Maya Angelou, a longtime inspiration to her, and Elizabeth Alexander.
Gorman added lines to his poem after the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill. She told the Los Angeles Times“I have created an inaugural poem that acknowledges these scars and wounds. I hope it inspires us to heal them.”
On January 20, 2021, Gorman wore a yellow coat, his trademark color, with his hair crowned by a red Prada headband. She also sported a caged bird ring, given to her by Winfrey, in honor of Angelou. Gorman then mesmerized audiences at the grand opening, and those watching elsewhere, with “The Hill We Climb.”
Prior to 2021, Gorman had shared his poetry at the Obama White House, the Library of Congress, and Lincoln Center. However, his unforgettable performance at the Biden-Harris inauguration brought Gorman to a new level of fame.
After the inauguration, Gorman read a poem, “Chorus of Captains,” at the Super Bowl in 2021. This appearance was in the works before his groundbreaking inauguration performance, but Gorman has received many other offers since then. She said vogue, “I have to be aware of taking orders that speak to me.” Luckily, she has mentors in her life like Winfrey, who has provided Gorman with advice since they met on John Krasinski’s YouTube show. Some good news in May 2020.
Gorman signed with IMG Models, appeared on the cover of vogue and signed a three-year contract with Estée Lauder to be its first Global Changemaker. In this role, Gorman will appear in commercials while organizing grants to promote literacy for women and girls.
Gorman also co-hosted the 2021 Met Gala, along with Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka. At the event, she appeared in an outfit inspired by the Statue of Liberty.
At the end of 2021, Gorman’s poem “A New Day’s Lyric” was posted on the official Instagram account to herald the new year 2022. Gorman felt the effort would help raise funds for International Rescue Committee, Instagram contributing $50,000.