Amanda Gorman Makes US History As Youngest Inaugural Poet

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Amanda Gorman Makes US History As Youngest Inaugural Poet
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The 22-year-old Harvard graduate served as Joe Biden’s inaugural poet.

Amanda Gorman isn’t only Joe Biden’s inauguration poet — she’s the youngest inaugural poet in United States history, too.

The Los Angeles-born writer and performer read her own poem “The Hill We Climb” today (Wednesday) at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Gorman completed the poem on January 6, the same day the Capitol riot took place.

“In my poem, I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen over the past few weeks and, dare I say, the past few years. But what I really aspire to do in the poem is to be able to use my words to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. “It’s doing that in a way that is not erasing or neglecting the harsh truths I think America needs to reconcile with.”

Gorman shared that Biden’s inaugural committee contacted Gorman late last month about reading something at the inauguration after Jill Biden saw a reading she gave at the Library of Congress.

“The theme for the inauguration in its entirety is ‘America United,’ so when I heard that was their vision, that made it very easy for me to say, great, that’s also what I wanted to write about in my poem, about America united, about a new chapter in our country,” Gorman said.

Gorman has already accomplished so much despite facing a speech impediment as a child, something that Biden also endured during his childhood. Along with becoming the youngest inaugural poet is, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles at 16. Then, while studying sociology at Harvard a few years later, she became the National Youth Poet Laureate, making her the first person to hold the position.

Watch Gorman read “The Hill We Climb” at Biden’s inauguration below.

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