The 22-year-old joined the likes of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost, and recited a poem that will go down as momentous in history
On Wednesday, Amanda Gorman became the youngest poet to read at a Presidential inauguration. The 22-year-old joined the likes of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost, and recited a poem that will go down as momentous in history.
Her poem, The Hill We Climb, encapsulated the inherent diversity in unity reminding people of the America that was and one that will be (“We the successors of a country and a time/ Where a skinny Black girl/descended from slaves and raised by a single mother/can dream of becoming president”) without losing sight of everything the country weathered and suffered in the recent past: “And yes we are far from polished/ far from pristine/ but that doesn’t mean we are/ striving to form a union that is perfect/ We are striving to forge a union with purpose.”
The poem, then, is mostly about hope, hope as a 22-year-old sees it, hope that the people of the country — tired with recent catastrophes — are waiting for. It recognises violence as cowardice and bravery as compassion: “The new dawn blooms as we free it/ For there is always light/ if only we’re brave enough to see it/ If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Gorman, who was National Youth Poet Laureate in the US in 2017, also stood as a symbol of that hope. Having struggled with a speech impediment, she refused to be constricted with these chains. Instead, as is evident, she used those shackles to sharpen her path ahead.
Expectantly, people on social media were all praises for her and the humanity she pursued in her poem. Here are some of the reactions.
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