Amanda Gorman becomes youngest inaugural poet in US history
Award-winning poet Amanda Gorman became the youngest known inaugural poet in U.S. history on Wednesday, with the 22-year-old reciting her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the country’s next president and vice president.
“When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade,” Gorman orated. “The loss we carry, a sea we must wade, we’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice.”
“And yet, the dawn is ours.”
In total, Gorman spoke for roughly six minutes, following Biden’s nearly 20-minute address. Gorman and her poem are now in rarified air, joining the works of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost to be performed at a presidential inauguration.
Gorman’s poem and Biden’s speech shared similar themes, with Biden urging the country to come together and strive for a better tomorrow, despite a pandemic that has ravaged the nation.
“Without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury,” Biden said. “No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge.”
Gorman became the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 and published her first book of poetry, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” two years earlier in 2015.
The Associated Press reported last week that the Biden inaugural committee had initially reached out to Gorman in late December upon the recommendation of now-first lady Jill Biden.