Thu, 25 Feb 2021

Young Poet Draws Spotlight at Biden Inauguration

Voice of America
21 Jan 2021, 07:05 GMT+10

Twenty-two-year-old poet Amanda Gorman made headlines and dominated inauguration talk on social media Wednesday after speaking at President Joe Biden's inauguration.

Her poem, in part:

"We, the successors of a country and a time,

Where a skinny black girl,

Descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,

Can dream of becoming president,

Only to find herself reciting for one."

Gorman, who was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles at just 16, is by far the youngest to have read an inaugural poem in recent U.S. history.

In a nod to the late poet Maya Angelou, who read a poem at former President Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993, Gorman wore a caged bird ring gifted to her by media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

"I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise!" Winfrey wrote on Twitter.

Gorman's poem, "The Hill We Climb," also included a nod to the popular musical "Hamilton," prompting public praise from its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

"You were perfect. Perfectly written, perfectly delivered," the composer wrote on Twitter.

In an interview with The New York Times, Gorman said she had written just a few lines of the poem when a pro-Trump riot stormed the Capitol on January 6. Gorman said that after the violent event, she finished the poem in one night.

Earlier in the ceremony, pop icon Lady Gaga gave a theatrical performance of the national anthem. Country singer Garth Brooks sang "Amazing Grace," and Jennifer Lopez performed a medley of "This Land is Your Land" and "America the Beautiful," interjecting lines from the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish.

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