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Who is Amanda Gorman?

One of the most outstanding moments of Wednesday's Presidential Inauguration was Amanda Gorman's poetry reading of her work, 'The Hill We Climb'. Here is everything you need to know about Gorman, one of the youngest and strongest political voices in the world.

Both an activist and a poet, Amanda Gorman's voice is distinct in the areas of African diaspora, feminism, race, class and exploitation of the marginalised. At just 22 years old, Amanda Gorman is the youngest poet to perform at an inauguration in history (she was recommended by Dr. Jill Biden). She is also the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate, an achievement for a young person with skills in the arts and a deep commitment to social justice.

A recent graduate of Harvard University and with a published book to her name, Amanda is unstoppable. Her book of poetry, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough, was published in 2015 (when she was 17!!!). Change Sings (pictured below) will be released in September of 2021. It is her first children's book and focusses on empowering children through the mechanism of anthem. Gorman has also announced that her next poetry text, 'The Hill We Climb' will also be published in the coming year.

Amanda was born with an auditory processing disorder and is hypersensitive to sound, she also has a speech impediment, something she believes made her the gifted reader, performer and writer she is today.

In 2016, Amanda founded the not-for-profit organisation, 'One Pen One Name', a cause dedicated to youth leadership and writing development. Gorman has been featured on MTV and introduced the literary season at the Congressional Library. Her work is everywhere, and it isn't difficult to understand why. Her voice carries immense power, weight and meaning.

Following her inauguration reading, both of Gorman's upcoming releases shot to the top of the Amazon Bestseller list. With exponential growth on social media and garnering global attention and respect, it is inarguable that Gorman has captured an international audience and will be a name to watch in years to come.

Here is the full text of Amanda's poem from the Inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, 'The Hill We Climb'.

The Hill We Climb
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, and 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, 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.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. 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 we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare. It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. 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.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the golden hills of the west. We will rise from the wind-swept north-east where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked south. 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.