Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s Moving Words Stole The Show At Joe Biden’s Inauguration
Amanda Gorman stole the show at Joe Biden’s inauguration with a powerful performance that called for Americans to ‘leave behind a country better than the one we were left’.
The youngest inaugural poet the US has ever seen, the 22-year-old was one of a string of performers at today’s event. Her five-minute-long poem, was in part, inspired by the riots at the US Capitol on January 6 which left five dead.
‘We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated,’ she read.
‘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,’ she continued.
Her poem finished:
So let us leave behind a country better than 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 gold-limbed hills of the West. We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the Lake Rim 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.
Gorman, who was awarded the title of the first-ever national youth poet laureate in 2017, won instant praise for her performance.
Oprah Winfrey, who gifted the poet a ring featuring a caged bird to wear for her performance, said she ‘had never been prouder to see another young woman rise’.
‘Maya Angelou is cheering – and so am I!,’ Oprah added.
Other high-profile figures, like congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, also shared snippets of Gorman’s performance in approval. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr wrote: ‘I honor you @Amandagorman.’
Speaking to The New York Times ahead of her performance, Gorman said she aspired to use her words to envision a way in which the US ‘can still come together and can still heal’.
‘It’s doing that in a way that is not erasing or neglecting the harsh truths I think America needs to reconcile with,’ she said.
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