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Biden chooses Amanda Gorman as youngest known inaugural poet

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Award-winning Black female writer Amanda Gorman, 22, is set to become the youngest inaugural poet in memory when she recites her work at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. 

Gorman in 2014 became the the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and three years later was named the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She will carry on the tradition for Democratic presidents of having celebrated poets read an original piece at inauguration ceremonies. 

According to The Associated Press, Gorman said she was contacted late last month by the Biden inaugural committee, with officials telling her that she had been recommended by incoming first lady Jill Biden. 

Gorman’s poem, which she said is titled, “The Hill We Climb,” will follow in the line of noteworthy works by celebrated poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. The AP reported that Angelou’s “On the Pulse of Morning,” written for the 1993 inauguration of former President Clinton, went on to sell more than 1 million copies when published in book form. 

While Gorman declined to preview any lines, she told the AP she was encouraged by the inaugural committee to emphasize messages of unity and hope without “denigrating anyone” or declaring “ding, dong, the witch is dead” over Biden’s electoral defeat of President Trump. 

According to Gorman’s website, the Harvard University graduate was previously invited to the Obama White House and has been asked to perform for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Malala Yousafzai. 

Gorman has also performed several commissioned poems for “CBS This Morning,” and has spoken at events at the Library of Congress, as well as Lincoln Center in New York City. 

The poet is one of several performers announced by the Biden team Thursday who will be participating in next week’s inaugural ceremonies. Lady Gaga has been tapped to sing the national anthem, and Jennifer Lopez has also been asked to perform at inaugural ceremonies on the West Front of the Capitol.

Tags Biden inauguration Bill Clinton Donald Trump Harvard University Hillary Clinton inaugural committee Jennifer Lopez Jill Biden Joe Biden Lady Gaga Maya Angelou The Associated Press
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