Amanda Gorman came to life on my TV screen on January 20th, 2021. It is now well over a year later and I still cannot get out of my head the powerful image of her standing in front of the Capitol Building wearing her bright yellow coat and thick red headband. She recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” and captivated the nation. Her articulation and cadence were mesmerizing as well as her hand movements and gestures. Amanda Gorman used the power of poetry to bring light to what it meant to be an American. Something I cannot personally relate to as an international student at McDaniel, but I was still amazed by her.
Amanda Gorman was born in Los Angles in 1998 (Zelazko). She published her poetry collection at the age of 16 which caught the attention of many important people . This led to her being invited to perform for the Obama administration, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and others. She graduated from Harvard in 2020 with a B.A. in Sociology. Amanda was the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States and since then has had achieved what only some could dream of (Zelazko).
Since the inauguration Amanda became the first poet to perform at the Super Bowl (her poem, “Chorus of the Captains,” honours an educator, a nurse, and a veteran) (Zelazko). She also signed a modeling contract and published a special edition of her inaugural poem. Later in 2021 Gorman cohosted the Met Gala, the annual benefit for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, with actor Timothée Chalamet, singer Billie Eilish, and tennis player Naomi Osaka. In addition, she debuted a children’s book, Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, and published a collection of poetry, Call Us What We Carry (formerly titled The Hill We Climb, and Other Poems) (Zelazko).
Poetry can seem very boring and distant for college age people. Most of the poets that we learn about are old and/or died years ago. Amanda Gorman is a poet from our generation, she is writing about what it is like to be 20 year-olds in this day and age, and she looks like us. Poetry is beautiful and can be very relatable, you just need to find a poet that speaks to you. For me that poet was Amanda Gorman and hopefully she can be the same to others. If you have not watched her inauguration speech go do so. If you have watched it then give her other work a read, you might be surprised.
Zelazko, Alicja. “Amanda Gorman”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 3 Mar. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Amanda-Gorman. Accessed 21 March 2022.