Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country on Wednesday (January 20) with her poem “The Hill We Climb”.
Speaking l just two weeks after a violent mob laid siege to the seat of American government, Gorman said Americans could rise above the hatred.
“While democracy can be temporarily delayed, it can never be permanently defeated,” she said.
“Let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.”
Critical acclaim poured from social media, singer Sheryl Crow tweeted: “If the future looks like inaugural poet laureate Amanda Gorman, we are in good shape. Wise and inspiring.”
The 22-year-old Los Angeles resident joined the ranks of previous inaugural poets Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Elizabeth Alexander, with a powerful performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama also had poems read at their inauguration.
Gorman was named the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. She became the first youth poet to open the literary season for the Library of Congress, and she has read her poetry on MTV.
Ms. Gorman’s art and activism focus on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora.
She says she plans to run for president in 2036.