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What to Know About the Incredible Amanda Gorman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

The presidential inauguration of Joe Biden two weeks ago was memorable for many reasons but one particular highlight of the ceremony was Amanda Gorman. The recent Harvard University graduate was the youngest inaugural poet ever at 22 years old, reciting her original poem “The Hill We Climb” on Jan. 20, 2021

Amanda Gorman reciting her poem at the 2021 presidential inauguration
Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license
Influenced by the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, the poem centers around the inauguration theme of “America United” through images of light and darkness and passionately declares that “while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”

Calling America a “nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished,” Gorman highlights the hope that Americans have for the future of the country and acknowledges that what we lack in perfection we make up for in purpose and newfound motivation. 

The Los Angeles native also celebrated her background, reciting how a woman descended from slaves and raised by a single mother could find herself on stage, speaking for the President of the United States and to the rest of the country on live television. 

Before coming to Washington D.C., Gorman was the first youth poet to open for the Library of Congress in 2017 while also winning the National Youth Poet Laureate that same year. She is surrounded with support coming from Oprah, Lin Manuel Miranda and Hillary Clinton who tweeted during Gorman’s speech, advocating for a future 2036 presidential run for the young woman. 

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.
Photo by Library of Congress distributed under a CC-PD-Mark license

Newly signed to IMG Models and promised to speak at the Superbowl LV pregame ceremony on Feb. 7, 2021, Amanda Gorman has an incredibly exciting future ahead of her. Already having accomplished so much, there’s no telling what else is to come. 

For more information about the 22-year-old, check out her website https://www.theamandagorman.com to see her numerous books and poems and stay up to date for future publications.

Julia Rutkowski

Northwestern '24

Julia Rutkowski is a freshman at Northwestern University. She is studying Journalism and hoping to minor in Business Institutions. A Florida native, Julia enjoys spending time at the beach and soaking up the sun but is also loving Evanston fall weather. In her free time, she loves traveling, watching Schitt's Creek and working with kids!