10 Inspiring Quotes and Moments with Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

We’re highlighting America’s first youth poet laureate with a collection of inspiring moments, quotes and photos to help you get to know her and her incredible work a little better!

amanda gorman | biden harris | inauguration
Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Raise your hand if you’re still awestruck over 22-year-old Amanda Gorman‘s profound and moving recitation of her poem, The Hill We Climb, at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this week! We haven’t put our hands down since – and, in fact, we’ve been hungry for more from America’s first *ever* Youth Poet Laureate. In the days since the Los Angeles native’s recitation, it’s been wonderful to see the appreciation and support stream in online – from her exponential Instagram follower growth, to her amazing books jumping to the top spots on multiple best seller lists (and selling out!).

We love to see it, and continue to get inspired by her the more we learn about her work and life. We wanted to add our voices to the mix and shine a light on her awesomeness by amplifying a few of her bits of brilliance that have brightened our day – and we know they’ll brighten yours too.

1. Poem:
“The Miracle of Morning”

Written and performed during the summer of 2020, Amanda’s powerful poem captures both the historic momentum of social movements, and the beauty of the kindness and community that has emerged in the midst of all of it.

2. Interview on The Late Late Show

We don’t need to convince you – but James Corden’s response to the opportunity to speak with Amanda was a whole mood! He is in full superfan mode as they speak about her experience of performing at such a historic moment, her process of finishing “The Hill We Climb” during the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, and her advice for young people who were first encountering poetry because of her work.

3. This:

Photo: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

“While we might feel small, separate, and all alone, our people have never been more tightly tethered. The question’s not if we will weather this unknown, but how we will weather the unknown together.”

Amanda Gorman
“The Miracle of Morning”

4. Poem:

Amanda’s powerful poem for the Climate Reality Project left us absolutely breathless…! In her signature style, she encourages all of us to action by speaking to the best within us, and reminding us of both what is at stake – but also of what is most valuable and sacred.

5. The Moth:

In a not-to-miss story from The Moth‘s GrandSLAM 2017 series, Amanda shares about an audition gone… well, upside-down, let’s put it that way. The fact that she’s only 19 when this was filmed doesn’t escape us at all – nor does the fact that her voice sounds different than what we heard earlier this week on the inaugural stage. Though many of us met her for the first time as she fearlessly and flawlessly spoke to the entire world from America’s capitol, did you know that she worked for years to overcome a speech difficulty? As though we didn’t already have too many reasons to be inspired by her…!

6. This:

amanda gorman | biden harris | inauguration

“Poetry, and art in general, means showing up with your best self. And whoever that may be, that – in and of itself – is beautiful. The more that we can bring our authentic selves, with hope, into the moment – the more that moment will show up for us.”

Amanda Gorman

7. Big Dreams

If you thought writing and reciting the inagural poem was the highest hill Amanda plans to climb, you’d be mistaken: “This is a long, long, faraway goal, but 2036 I am running for office to be president of the United States,” Amanda told The New York Times all the way back in 2017. “So you can put that in your iCloud calendar.” You bet we will!

8. Poem:
“Believer’s Hymn for the Republic”

Back in 2019, Amanda was invited to write and perform a poem for Fourth of July celebrations, and you know there was no one better to do it! Set against the beautiful orchestral sounds of the Boston Pops Orchestra, she captures the spirit of American independence: “Every day, we write the future / Together, we sign it / Together, we declare it / We share it / For this truth marches on / Inside each of us.”

9. The Reminder that Our Voices are Powerful

In an inspiring TedTalk that weaves poetry, biography and the historical significance of stories – whose stories, and what those stories were – Amanda centers the importance and power of poetry as a political act of uses our voices to make social change. Beginning with discussing her own speech impediment and fear of speaking, Amanda shares about finding her voice through poetry, and the urgency of using ours with our full chests: “Poetry is always at the pulse of the most dangerous and the most daring questions that a nation, or a world, might face.”

10. And Finally – This:

amanda gorman | biden harris | inauguration

Hear me as a woman
Have me as your sister
On purpled battlefield breaking day,
So I might say our victory is just beginning,
See me as change,
Say I am movement,
That I am the year
And I am the era
Of the women.

Amanda Gorman
excerpt from Won’t You Be My Sister, 2018


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