Get to Know Inaugural Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

While so much was memorable about January 20th’s Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, a moment that particularly stood out was the incredible, heartfelt poem read by 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman. 

So who is the poet phenomenon? Amanda was born in 1998 in Los Angeles and had to face a speech impediment growing up, which she credits for some of her early reading and writing skills. She later attended Harvard for a degree in Sociology, from which she graduated last spring. She also began a nonprofit organization helping underprivileged kids with writing and has mentioned that she hopes to run for president in her future.

At 16, Amanda became the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Then in 2017, she was named the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate. Before the inauguration, she had performed at the Library of Congress, on MTV, on John Krasinski’s web show Some Good News, and more. 

On the process of composing her inaugural piece, Amanda told BBC that “[she] really wanted to use [her] words to be a point of unity and collaboration and togetherness.” She mentions being overjoyed, yet terrified for her presentation, but recognizes “the elegance and beauty of words” that she was able to provide to millions of Americans through her moving poem.

As for the rest of 2021, Amanda recently signed with IMG models and is set to be the first poet to perform at the Superbowl, where she plans to honor heroes of the pandemic. This year, she will also release a poetry collection, named after her inaugural speech, as well as a children’s picture book. While her inaugural performance will undoubtedly always be a career highlight, we are certain that she will continue to do incredible things!

You can read the full poem of “The Hill We Climb” here or check out Amanda’s website