Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Harvard graduate from California, made US history on Wednesday as the youngest person ever chosen to write a poem for a presidential inauguration.
The Los Angeles native captivated viewers during President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony with her moving rendition of “The Hill We Climb,” a work about unity, healing and perseverance.
“When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” Gorman began her inaugural poem.
She continued: “And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow we do it. Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”
Mindful of the past, Gorman honored previous inaugural poet Maya Angelou by wearing a ring with a caged bird — a tribute to the writer’s classic memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted Winfrey, a close friend of the late writer.
Gorman replied: “Thank you! I would be nowhere without the women whose footsteps I dance in.”
“Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before.”
So how did Gorman get here? At just 16, she was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and her first poetry book, “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough,” was released a year later in 2015.
In 2017, she became the country’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.
Gorman, who graduated in May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology, has read for official occasions before.
Having seen perform at the Library of Congress, First Lady Jill Biden asked Gorman late last month to write something to recite on Wednesday.
“That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem,” Gorman told The Associated Press last week.
She referenced the deadly riot in her work, saying: “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.”
“And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.”
Gorman also found commonality with Joe Biden, as both her and the president battled speech impediments.
“Writing my poems on the page wasn’t enough for me,” she told “CBS This Morning.”
“I had to give them breath, and life, I had to perform them as I am. That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment.”
While she’s already accomplished a lot, Gorman’s career is just beginning.
Her first two books come out in September — the children’s book “Change Sings” and a bound edition of her inaugural poem, along with other works.
With Post wires
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