Amanda Gorman, 22, captivated her audience at Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20. His poem “The Hill We Climb” is a new composition that refers to Capitol Hill, where supporters of Donald Trump invaded Congress headquarters on January 6.
Amanda Gorman, a young woman from Los Angeles, was a sensation at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States. The lyrics of his poem “The Hill We Climb” fit perfectly with the unifying and optimistic message of Joe Biden. “Democracy can be temporarily supplanted, but never definitively defeated,” she said before concluding with hope, “There is always light. If only we are brave enough to see it”.
In fact, her name was blown to the organizers of the ceremony by First Lady Jill Biden, who had the opportunity to attend one of her readings. She was commissioned in December to write an ode to “United America”, echoing the Democrat’s speech.
She was halfway through what she had in mind for her poem when the Capitol was stormed on January 6 by Donald Trump’s supporters. This dramatic incident gave her new inspiration and, that same evening, she finished writing “The Hill We Climb”. “This is probably one of the most important things I will do in my career,” she said after acknowledging that she had difficulties in the beginning. “I wanted to use my words as a tool to create unity, cooperation and cohesion,” said Amanda Gorman before the ceremony, adding: “I think this is a new chapter that we’re opening up in the United States, about the future, and doing it with the elegance and beauty of words.”
She follows in the footsteps of Maya Angelou, Richard Blanco and Robert Frost, who are among the five poets to have performed during previous presidential investitures.
Born in Los Angeles in 1998, Gorman had a speech defect in his childhood. A handicap she has in common with the new President of the United States. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she used it as a force. “It made me the interpreter I am and the storyteller I strive to be,” she said, adding: “When you have to train yourself to say sounds [and] be very preoccupied with pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sounds, of the auditory experience.”
Gorman became the Los Angeles Youth Poet at the age of 16. Three years later, while studying sociology at Harvard, she became the first young poet to receive a national award. She published her first book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough”