America’s first Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman gave a powerful reading of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 inauguration. (And she did it wearing jewelry that Oprah Winfrey gave her!) Here are just a few moving lines from it:
In another part of the poem, Gorman says, “Somehow we weathered and witnessed / a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.” Read the full text here.
To say people were emotional over this poem is an understatement. The reactions quickly poured in, with many expressing how proud they are of Gorman, who is just 22 years old.
April D.Ryan, The Grio’s White House correspondent, posted, “I can’t help but think that Maya Angelou is looking down from Heaven proud at the #BlackGirlMagic that is Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. Amanda’s #InaugurationDay poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ was beautiful and wonderfully delivered.”
Stacey Abrams was beaming with pride too. “Amanda Gorman’s message serves as an inspiration to us all,” she tweeted.
Abrams’s and Ryan’s thoughts really sum up this moment. Not only was Gorman’s poem exactly what America needed to hear, the young writer emerged as a voice for the next generation—and a voice for the country’s future. “Amanda Gorman personified the promise of our youth,” one person tweeted.
Another added, “THIS is what pursuing the best version of America is about, this is what we can be, this is beautiful. Amanda Gorman.”
Gorman is a former Glamour College Woman of the Year. In 2018 she told us, “You don’t have to be a poet, you don’t have to be a politician or be in the White House to make an impact with your words. We all have this capacity to find solutions for the future.”
That’s true, but it must be pretty damn cool to be a poet speaking at a presidential inauguration. It’s official: A star is born.