The 22-year-old from Los Angeles, California performed her poem "The Hill We Climb" at the ceremony, becoming the youngest Inaugural Poet in U.S. history.
At the end of Inauguration Day, which saw President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris sworn into office, attention turned to Amanda Gorman. The 22-year-old from Los Angeles, California performed her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the ceremony, becoming the youngest Inaugural Poet in U.S. history.
All about Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman was born and raised in Los Angeles. She fell in love with poetry after her teacher read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” to the class. She began to write in order to cope with her speech impediment.
Gorman told the Los Angeles Times:
“I don’t look at my disability as a weakness. It’s made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be. When you have to teach yourself how to say sounds, when you have to be highly concerned about pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sonics, of the auditory experience.”
Aged 14, she joined WriteGirl, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that provides monthly creative writing workshops and one-on-one writing mentoring sessions, promoting creativity and self-expression to empower girls. Amanda said of the company: “WriteGirl has been pivotal in my life. It’s been thanks to their support that I’ve been able to chase my dreams as a writer.”
In 2014, Gorman was named the first-ever Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate aged just 16. She also became a youth delegate for the United Nations saying of her experience: “It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I could accomplish.”
The following year, she published her first poetry collection – “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough.” At the age of 19, in 2017, she became the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate. Gorman said of her work: “I want to create poems that stand the test of time and counter the fragmented news culture of today.”
Gorman jusr graduated from Harvard University and has two books due to be published by Penguin Random House: a children’s book called Change Sings and a poetry collection.
The ambitious poet is also the first person to announce her intention to run for president in 2036, the first election cycle in which she’ll be old enough to do so. She told the L.A. Times that Vice President Kamala Harris inspired her plans saying:
“There’s no denying that a victory for her is a victory for all of us who would like to see ourselves represented as women of color in office. It makes it more imaginable. Once little girls can see it, little girls can be it. Because they can be anything that they want, but that representation to make the dream exist in the first place is huge—even for me.“