Amanda Gorman

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We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.

Amanda Gorman (born 1998) is an American poet and social activist. She published the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough in 2015, and became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. She studied sociology at Harvard College, and graduated cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She received worldwide attention with her recitation of her poem "The Hill We Climb" written for the inauguration of US President Joe Biden.

Quotes[edit]

If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children's birthright.

The Republic Gives Thanks (2018)[edit]

"Watch National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman perform her Thanksgiving poem", CBS This Morning (22 November 2018)
  • In 1863, deep in the Civil War's magnitude,
    Abraham Lincoln declared a day of gratitude
    Shared by one heart and one voice of America.
    A proclamation for a nation in a nightmare,
    This Thanksgiving dared Americans
    To chime their thanks at a time when many believed
    They had no thanks to give.
  • To be American is to be a kin
    To a courageous hope:
    The trust that even if just for a moment
    We can, we must, close rank as people,
    One heart, one voice, one mind, created equal.

The Hill We Climb (2020)[edit]

The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light.
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
Full recitation: PBS NewsHour (20 January 2021)
  • When day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
    The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.
    We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
    We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.
    In the norms and notions of what "just is" isn’t always justice.

    And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
    Somehow we do it.
    Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
  • We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
    To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.

    And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
    We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
    We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
    We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
    Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
    That even as we grieved, we grew.
    That even as we hurt, we hoped.
    That even as we tired, we tried that will forever be tied together victorious.
    Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
  • 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.
    In this truth, in this faith we trust for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
  • This is the era of just redemption.
    We feared it at its inception.
    We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves so while once we asked, "How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? "
    Now we assert, "How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?"
  • We will not march back to what was,
    but move to what shall be a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free.
    We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation
    because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
    Our blunders become their burdens.
    But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.
  • We will rebuild, reconcile and recover in every known nook of our nation,
    in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful
    will emerge battered and beautiful.
    When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.
    The new dawn blooms as we free it.
    For there is always light.
    If only we’re brave enough to see it.
    If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Quotes about Amanda Gorman[edit]

  • Amanda Gorman...is the author of the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough (2015). She attended New Roads in Santa Monica and Harvard University, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in sociology. Her art and activism focus on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. In 2014 Gorman was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and in 2017 was named the first US National Youth Poet Laureate. She has performed at...the Obama White House, the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, and on CBS This Morning. She has received a Genius Grant from OZY Media, as well as recognition from Scholastic Inc., YoungArts, the Glamour magazine College Women of the Year Awards, and the Webby Awards. She has written for the New York Times newsletter The Edit and penned the manifesto for Nike's 2020 Black History Month campaign.
  • Amanda Gorman made history Wednesday as the youngest known inaugural poet. The 22-year-old Los Angeles resident delivered her poem "The Hill We Climb" at President Joe Biden's inauguration in Washington, D.C. "I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday for me really just underscored how much that was needed," she said. "But to not turn a blind eye to the cracks that really need to be filled." In 2017, Gorman became the first National Youth Poet Laureate. The Harvard graduate plans to release a children's book of poems later this year. Like Mr. Biden, Gorman has struggled with a speech impediment throughout her life, making poetry a "lifeline" for her. Also like Mr. Biden, she has a long-term goal of running for president.
    • Amanda Gorman reads "The Hill We Climb" at Biden's inauguration, by Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, (21 January 2021)
  • Among the firsts in Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” is the concept of democracy that it assumed. Democracy, according to the twenty-two-year-old poet, is an aspiration—a thing of the future... Both times the poem raises “democracy,” Gorman pairs the word with “delay,” which tells us that democracy is a thing expected, anticipated—not a thing that we have built, or possessed, but a dream. This is not the way that politicians or even political theorists usually use the word “democracy,” but it is one way that philosophers have used it. Jacques Derrida, the French deconstructionist, used the term “democracy to come.” Democracy, he wrote, was always forged and threatened by contradictory forces and thus is always “deferred,” always out of reach even in societies that adopt democracy as their governing principle. Gorman’s poem is, explicitly, a text about the future. She exhorts Americans to look not at “what stands between us / But what stands before us.” She says, at the beginning, that “we know, to put our future first,” and she ends with a verse of promises and challenges as rousing as any ever written.

External links[edit]

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