“For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
These beautiful final words are from Amanda Gorman’s breathtaking inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” which she performed at Joe Biden’s 2021 presidential inauguration. This performance made her the youngest inaugural poet, surprising many with her strong and passionate storytelling. As I watched her words unravel and take viewers even deeper through each meaningful articulation and pause, I knew she was going to take the world by storm. And consequently, she is.
As the nation’s first National Youth Poet Laureate and the former Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, Gorman has made it her mission to share her love of poetry and storytelling with the world. But rather than just crafting and delivering beautiful poems, Gorman has taken steps towards reaching out and aiding the youth of today. She founded One Pen One Page, a nonprofit organization that helps underserved youth access more opportunities within the realm of leadership, creative writing, and publishing. From the start, Gorman has taken steps to enrich the experience of those who do not have ample access to resources by providing better opportunities for those who love writing, literature, and storytelling. For more about Gorman’s early life, her love for poetry, and One Pen One Page, check out this interview that The Project For Women (TPFW) did with Gorman!
In addition to her beautiful words at the historical 2021 presidential inauguration, Gorman presented another heartfelt poem entitled “Chorus of the Captains” dedicated to three incredible individuals for their meaningful work during the global pandemic. But not only did she deliver another well-spoken and passionate poem – she did it at the Super Bowl. And yes, you read that correctly, the Super Bowl. I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me. The fact that a poet performed at the Super Bowl for the first time is jaw-dropping enough, but also the fact that this poet is a young, intelligent, and beautiful woman of color is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Gorman performed with the same passion and positivity as she did at the inauguration and truly honored those three Americans in a simple yet meaningful way. Here’s a link to her short but powerful Super Bowl performance via her Instagram. For a full direct text of her poem, check out this article.
As an aspiring writer and lover of both storytelling and literature myself, Gorman has been one of my biggest inspirations. Not only is she living proof that one can change the world through poetry and their own words, but she is also living proof that a woman of color can do it. For most of my life thus far, I have never seen someone so young and bright capture the hearts and minds of audiences through poetry. Gorman beautifully talks about her experiences with how spoken word poetry empowered both her and others in this article through The Huffington Post.
While the world seems to be falling deeper into pandemic disparity, it is heartwarming to know that there are many bright lights in the world, one of them being Gorman’s passionate words that give us a greater sense of hope for a better future. One that is, as Gorman puts it, “a new dawn.” A future that we can see unraveling and taking shape in front of us. And one that is full of hope, change, and light.