National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivers inspiring message

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Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS

Ryan Servaites, Politics & Activism Editor

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS

Harvard graduate and 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman left viewers stunned as she recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during the inauguration ceremony. The poem addressed the need for unity and purpose, with the young poet drawing from her identity as a Black woman to illuminate the possibilities the future holds. 

“We really need to break out of the pathology that poetry is only owned by certain elites,” Gorman said during a Feb. 4 Time Magazine interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama. “Where we can start is highlighting and celebrating poets who reflect humanity in all of its diverse colors and breadth.” 

The young poet, who originally took up the art as a means of overcoming speech and auditory impediments, gave a show-stopping performance, alluding to the possibility of a re-imagined America that works for all of its citizens. With her performance, Gorman made history by being the youngest of only six inaugural poets, joining a club that includes the likes of Richard Blanco, Robert Frost and the legendary Maya Angelou.

This story was originally published in the March 2021 Eagle Eye print edition.