Washington, D.C.–Amanda Gorman was chosen to read one of her poems at Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
At the age of 22, the Los Angeles-born writer and performer is the youngest poet to perform at a presidential inauguration (Watch Gorman’s poem here)
She told the BBC’s World Service she felt “excitement, joy, honor and humility” when she was asked to take part in the ceremony, “and also at the same time terror”.
Her poem, The Hill We Climb, is a new composition she said she hoped would “speak to the moment” and “do this time justice”.
“I really wanted to use my words to be a point of unity and collaboration and togetherness,” she told the World Service’s Newshour programme before the ceremony.
“I think it’s about a new chapter in the United States, about the future, and doing that through the elegance and beauty of words.”
Gorman completed her poem on 6 January, the day the Capitol in Washington DC was stormed by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
In 2017, she became the United States of America’s first National Youth Poet Laureate.
She is also an activist from Los Angeles, California. Gorman’s work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. She published the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough in 2015. In January 2021, she became the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration, reading her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of Joe Biden.