The youngest ever inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, read an original poem titled “The Hill We Climb” from the Capitol steps this afternoon. Her poem touched on the historic significance of Vice President Kamala Harris being sworn into office and the Biden administration’s call to unity. 

“The theme for the inauguration in its entirety is ‘America United,’ so when I heard that was their vision, that made it very easy for me to say, great, that’s also what I wanted to write about in my poem, about America united, about a new chapter in our country,” Gorman said to the New York Times.

“There is space for grief and horror and hope and unity, and I also hope that there is a breath for joy in the poem, because I do think we have a lot to celebrate at this inauguration.”

A YOUNG PERSPECTIVE

At 16 years old, Gorman was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. At 19, while attending Harvard, she was designated the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.  

Gorman follows the likes of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, who transcend generations for their use of powerful lyricism. She was chosen for the inauguration based on a recommendation from now First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. 

Oprah Winfrey and Lin Manuel Miranda are among Gorman’s supporters both tweeting high praise after the poem. 

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” Winfrey tweeted.

Gorman also wore a caged bird ring, gifted to her by Winfrey to honor the late Maya Angelou and her memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

EFFECT OF THE CAPITOL ATTACKS 

Gorman was invited to present at the inauguration early in January and was halfway finished with the poem on Jan. 6. 

“I don’t want to say that my poem took a drastic left turn, because it was already going towards a location, but those events just solidified for me how important it was to have a poem about unity and the new chapter of America in this inauguration,” said Gorman.

Written ByAshley Grams

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