Amanda Gorman becomes the youngest inaugural poet, delivering her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’


Photo by Alex Wong

Amanda Gorman becomes the youngest poet in history to present an original work at a presidential inauguration. On January 20th, 2021, she speaks to the millions tuned into the ceremony of what she believes in unity and trust within the country.

Among the guests for the 2021 inauguration was Amanda Gorman, a 22-year old poet, activist, and writer. It was on the steps of the podium where she presented her original work, titled, “The Hill We Climb,” to millions of Americans, as well as people around the globe.
Amanda was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. At a young age, she had a strong passion for reading and writing. Growing up, however, Amanda struggled with a speech impediment, known as auditory processing disorder. It made it difficult for her to hear as she spoke, as her hearing and brain didn’t coordinate together.
But that didn’t stop her. Instead, it gave her a better reason to pursue this passion of writing and speaking her beliefs.
“The Hill We Climb” shows Gorman’s beliefs as to how the United States should be able to heal from past, present, and future conflicts, such as the Capitol riots on January 6th. Since December 3rd, 2020, after being elected by Biden to present at the 2021 inauguration, Gorman was already at work with the poem. But the events at the Capitol were what inspired her to complete the poem, as it only took her a single night that same day to add the final few additions to perfect her idea that was already in motion.
“[…] what I really aspire to do in the poem is to be able to use my words to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal,” Amanda said to New York Times.
The central message of Gorman’s inauguration poem is unity. In a time when the country is in social and political shambles, her emphasis on the belief that working together through troubled times was what inspired the millions of viewers who tuned into the recitation. She also hopes that listeners use this poem as guidance for not just that one day, but for the future, as the poem enlightens readers that positive change will only be brought when working together for the greater good. She wishes for readers to understand that without coming together, healing is inevitable, and people will only be prone to repeating their same mistakes if the past isn’t changed for the better.
“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.”