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Who is Amanda Gorman? The eloquent 22-year-old poet makes history at the inauguration

Who is Amanda Gorman? The eloquent 22-year-old poet makes history at the inauguration

It was a day of firsts as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Vice President Kamala Harris has made history as the first female, first African-American and first Asian-American to become vice president. 

Who is Amanda Gorman? The eloquent 22-year-old poet makes history at the inauguration

A 22-year-old poet also made history at Biden’s inauguration, as the youngest poet in US history to speak at the presidential inauguration.

Amanda Gorman followed in the footsteps of previous inaugural poets such as Maya Angelou and Robert Frost with the powerful recital of her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’.

In her poem, she spoke of America as a divided country and shared a vision for a more united future.

“We ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We braved the belly of the beast.”

“We are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters and conditions of man.”

Who is Amanda Gorman?

A Los Angeles resident, Gorman was raised by a single mother and was just 17-years-old when she published her first book of poetry, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough. 

She went on to attend Harvard University and became the first US National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

The young poet stole the show at Biden’s inauguration, donning a bright yellow Prada coat and red satin headband and jewellery gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey. The caged bird ring held a special significance, as a tribute to Maya Angelou’s poem ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.’

Amanda Gorman recites a poem during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In an interview with NPR, Gorman revealed she finished writing her inaugural poem on the evening on 6 Jan, when rioters stormed Capitol Hill.

Like President Biden who suffers from a stutter himself, Gorman had to overcome a speech impediment as a child.

A staunch activist, Gorman’s work centres around issues of oppression, racism, feminism and the African diaspora.

Along with her poetry and activism, Gorman has big ambitions for her future, saying she plans to run for president in 2036.

Watch Gorman’s recite ‘The Hill We Climb’ in full:

In pictures: The inauguration of Joseph R Biden Jr

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