She came at the request of the new US President: Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet ever to be invited to a lecture at an inauguration. Their appearance was full of symbolism. By Katharina Wilhelm, ARD Studio Los Angeles
A bright yellow coat, his hair tied back with a red headband. Amanda Gorman stood out at Joe Biden’s inauguration not only with her colorful choice of clothes. The 22-year-old poet from Los Angeles is the youngest poet ever to recite a poem for the occasion. Her work is called “The Hill we climb”. “The mountain we climb”. “The Hill” is also a name for the US Capitol, the seat of Congress.
She had only finished the last lines of her work a few days ago, after the storm on the Capitol – and she also addresses this:
“We saw a force that wanted to destroy our nation instead of sharing it. That wanted to destroy our country by trying to stop democracy. And these efforts have almost been successful. But while democracy can be stopped in the short term, it can never be permanently defeated. “
“As we mourned, we grew”
What might be missing from Biden’s speech – energy, dynamism – Gorman made up for. Biden spoke of the nation needing love to heal – Gorman went on and said the US had grown in grief and pain.
With her poem, Amanda Gorman follows in the footsteps of literary greats such as poet Robert Frost and the black writer Maya Angelou. Gorman is a conscious choice of Biden. She represents many things that are important to the new leadership: The Harvard-trained sociologist describes herself as an activist against racism, inequality and for feminism. She also addresses her own role as a black, young woman in the poem:
“We are the descendants of a country and a time when a skinny black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother, can dream of becoming president just to recite for you.”
Gorman concludes with hopeful words that one has to “step out of the shadows”. The new morning will blossom when it is set free.
“There is always light when we are brave enough to see it, brave enough to be it.”
Poem line goes viral
That quote went viral within a few hours. Many celebrities compliment Gorman on her poem, including presenter Oprah Winfrey, who said she has never been more proud of a young woman, a true accolade from one of the most powerful women in show business.
Praise came from director Regina King, musician John Legend and ex-President Barack Obama.
According to her own statement, the 22-year-old wants to become President of the United States at some point – today she was very close to that goal.