Amanda Gorman: The Poet of a New Generation

Annie Snyder '21, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On January 20, Amanda Gorman became the fifth inaugural poet – joining Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Miller Williams, and Elizabeth Alexander – and the first youth poet laureate when she performed her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” While hopefully almost everyone has heard her recite her poem, I particularly believe that these few lines accurately encapsulate the theme of the poem: “It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit, / it’s the past we step into / and how we repair it.” Gorman created a social media storm after her performance, with many news sources writing pieces on not only her performance but her rise to notoriety.

While I could go on about the performance specifically, many people do not know much about the 23-year-old Harvard graduate. Gorman has an auditory processing disorder and a speech impediment. However, she has always viewed her “disabilities” as a gift that inspired her to read and write. Gorman is known for her powerful, emotion-filled spoken word poetry. I particularly recommend her performance called “Roar,” which can be found here In “Roar,” she expertly integrates lines from The Lion King as she talks about overcoming her speech impediment. She also wrote for the Nike 2020 Black History Month campaign. She was the recipient of the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, and the youngest board member of 826 National, a youth writing network.

In addition to her writing, Gorman is an avid activist. In 2016, she founded the nonprofit One Pen One Page, and in 2017, Gorman shared her hopes to run for president in the 2036 election. This year, Gorman made Time’s 100 Next list, which also included famous actress Hunter Schafer, athlete Trevor Lawrence, and politician Jon Ossoff. Her biography was written by Hamilton mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda. Gorman has also signed a modeling contract with IMG, the largest agency in the United States.