The presidential inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris marked a major turning point in American history. We got to see political figures, celebrities and proud citizens gather, complete with a string of stunning performances. But one of most memorable moments came when Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet ever to perform at an inauguration, summed up our sentiments with her original poem, "The Hill We Climb."
The 22-year-old poet captivated millions while reciting her powerful poem of hope, and now, many are curious to learn more about the talented star. Here's what we know.
1. She's the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate
For starters, Gorman made history as the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, when she was just 19 years old. But even before she earned that impressive title, Gorman was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014, when she was 16.
2. Gorman developed a passion for poetry during childhood
To offer some background, Gorman's mother, an English teacher, encouraged her daughter to start writing poetry as a child, which helped her find her voice. By the second grade, she ventured into public speaking by doing a monologue in the voice of Chief Osceola of Florida’s Seminole tribe. She told the Los Angeles Times, "I’m sure anyone who saw it was kind of aghast at this 15-pound Black girl who was pretending to die on stage as a Native American chief. But I think it was important in my development because I really wanted to do justice to the story and bring it to life. It was the first time that I really leaned into the performance of text.”
3. She dealt with a speech impediment
It turns out that Gorman had a speech impediment as a child, but she revealed that she overcame it in high school. She told CBS News, "Once I arrived at the point in my life in high school, where I said, 'you know what? Writing my poems on the page isn't enough for me. I have to give them breath, and life, I have to perform them as I am.' That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment." Clearly, the young poet has perfected the art of public speaking since then.
4. She's a recent Harvard grad
Gorman graduated from Harvard University in 2020 with a degree in sociology. While sharing the great news on Instagram, she wrote, "I’m so grateful for the memories, knowledge, and above all, friendships that I’ve garnered throughout this wild ride. As a black girl and descendant of slaves, graduating college, let alone from an Ivy League university, meant I was able to access a knowledge—which is power—that had been kept out of my people’s hands for generations."
5. She's an author and passionate activist
As you may have noticed, some of Gorman's books have already turned into Amazon best-sellers. Her titles include The Hill We Climb (which is available for preorder), Change Sings: A Children's Anthem and The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough. Additionally, she founded the nonprofit organization called One Pen One Pagean, which aims to promote literacy among underserved youth.
6. And of course, she's planning on running for president of the United States
Gorman made it pretty clear that she has her sights set on becoming a future U.S. president—and we're sure that Harris is one of her biggest inspirations.
She told The New York Times, "This is a long, long, faraway goal, but 2036 I am running for office to be president of the United States. So you can put that in your iCloud calendar."
You've already got our support, Amanda!
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