Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman: From Watts to Front and Center
Amanda is a young poet who was first to do a lot of things. Born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in the neighborhood of Watts by a single, English teacher Mom named Joan Wicks, she became the first person to be named Youth Poet Laurent of Los Angeles at age 16, and then she became the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laurent for the United States in 2017 at age 19. She then broke a stunning age barrier when she delivered her iconic poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s
inauguration ceremony. And she was a stunning success reciting these words which were written against the backdrop of the recent Capital building riots.
“Let the globe, if nothing else, 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 know division.”
Now Gorman’s two books “The Hill We Climb” and “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough” have skyrocketed to the top of the New York Times best seller list. But early success notwithstanding, Gorman does have her obstacles in that she is a consummate performing poet who suffers from hearing loss and a speech impediment in which she says she drops some letters from her words such as her Rs and has to practice and practice. She also describes herself as having been a “weird child” who apparently felt more at home with books than with people. But she also enjoys a close relationship with her elder brother Spenser Gorman and her twin sister Gabrielle who is also an activist and a creative like herself who pursues the film-making arts, and it sounds as if Amanda and her sister are close.
Gorman began her poetry career as early as the third grade and now uses historical music such as found the the musical play “Hamilton” as seminal inspiration for her poetry (as in a music prompt) and her subject matter includes feminism, racial equality, and the diaspora of the African people through slavery.
Today this bright young lady is also an activist who currently lives in West LA.