Entertainment

Amanda Gorman’s Words Touched a Nation Deeply in Need of Poetry

History will remember her name: today, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman became the youngest poet ever to deliver a poetic recitation during an inauguration ceremony for an American president. In reading her rousing poem, titled “The Hill We Climb,” Gorman joins the small but distinguished ranks of Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Miller Williams, Elizabeth Alexander, and Richard Blanco, who read their poems at the inaugurations of the only three presidents ever to spotlight inaugural poets: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and John F. Kennedy. For some, Gorman’s rise to the national stage may seem sudden and meteoric, but for those with an eye on poetry’s rising stars, it’s been a long time coming.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Gorman developed a passion for poetry at an early age. Like President Biden, she struggled with a speech impediment as a child, experiencing difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, especially “R” sounds. She found poetry “liberating,” though she would often “self-edit and self-police” in order to avoid troublesome sounds, making last-minute edits in the bathroom ahead of public recitations in order to avoid words she couldn’t pronounce. The path was challenging, but it also connected her to the legacy of one of her inaugural predecessors: Maya Angelou, who suffered from selective mutism as a child.

“Maya Angelou was mute growing up as a child, and she grew up to deliver the inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton,” Gorman said. “So I think there is a real history of orators who have had to struggle with a type of imposed voicelessness, you know, having that stage in the inauguration.”

Inauguration Day isn’t the first time Gorman has made history. After honing her talents for years in Los Angeles’ WriteGirl program, a nonprofit organization that empowers teenage girls through creative writing, she was named the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles at sixteen years old. A few years later, when she was studying sociology at Harvard University, she became the National Youth Poet Laureate, making her the first person ever to hold the position. In the years since, she has appeared on MTV, as well as contributed a poem to Nike’s celebration of Black athletes. In late December, Gorman was contacted by the Biden inauguration committee; she learned that Dr. Jill Biden, after seeing a reading she gave at the Library of Congress, had suggested she share a poem at the inauguration. Gorman sought to honor the inauguration’s theme, “America United,” while refusing to shy away from this dark chapter in American history, taking inspiration from the oration of Abraham Lincoln and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Gorman faced a challenge no inaugural poet has ever faced: how to tailor her poem to the monumental task of inspiring an ailing nation, fractured from a deadly pandemic and a violent insurrection? When far-right extremists stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th, she revised her half-written draft of “The Hill We Climb” late into the night, saying, “That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem.” She added new verses to reflect the harrowing scene at the Capitol:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Gorman never expected to become “a public occasion poet,” but her work has taken her to lofty heights, leading her to perform everywhere from a July 4th celebration with the Boston Pops Orchestra to the inauguration of Harvard University president Larry Bacow.

“I have kind of stumbled upon this genre,” Gorman said. “It’s been something I find a lot of emotional reward in, writing something I can make people feel touched by, even if it’s just for a night.”

In September, Gorman will release her first children’s book, Change Sings, a lyrical picture book in which a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey to create change within their communities and within themselves. But first, her powerful recitation of “The Hill We Climb” has vaulted her to a new national stage—one she feels “excitement, joy, honour and humility” to be standing on. Her words reach a nation in deep need of poetry.

“Now more than ever, the United States needs an inaugural poem,” Gorman said. “Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.”

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News

Help us to become independent in PANDEMIC COVID-19. Contribute to diligent Authors.

[charitable_donation_form campaign_id=57167]

Source link

Back to top button
SoundCloud To Mp3