Get to Know Amanda Gorman After Her Poetry Steals the Show at 2021 Presidential Inauguration

Amanda Gorman grabbed the attention of Americans after sharing her poetry during President Joe Biden’s 2021 Inauguration. Get to know the 22-year-old Los Angeles native.

By Mike Vulpo Jan 20, 2021 7:25 PMTags

Ladies and gentlemen, remember this name: Amanda Gorman.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the world watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris get sworn in as president and vice president, respectively, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

But during the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, one speaker immediately grabbed the attention of viewers and attendees alike. At just 22 years old, Amanda became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history to help mark the transition of presidents with a powerful performance of her poem, "The Hill We Climb."

"We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one," her poem stated. "There is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it." 

While taking the podium, Amanda sported a pair of earrings and a birdcage ring gifted from Oprah Winfrey. The jewelry pays homage to previous inauguration poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography titled, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' 2021 Inauguration in Photos

So how exactly did Amanda write her poem? For starters, it wouldn't have been possible without a lot of research. And although she was nearly halfway done on Jan. 6, a group of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol caused the poet to pivot. 

As she told NPR, "I was like, 'Well, this is something we need to talk about.'"

Watch: 5 Things to Know About Inauguration Poet Amanda Gorman

And that she did. During her reading, people heard Amanda speak about the importance of democracy. "We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy," she said. "And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated."

For those hoping to learn more about Amanda, E! News has got you covered. In 2014, the Southern California native was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles at the age of 16. Three years later and she became the first National Youth Poet Laureate.

The accomplishments are even more impressive because Amanda has been open about her experiences stuttering as a child. In fact, she had trouble saying some letters of the alphabet including the letter R. As she recalled to NPR, "I'd want to say 'girls can change the world,' but I cannot say so many letters in that statement, so I'd say things like 'young women can shape the globe.'"

Rob Carr/Getty Images

But after Dr. Jill Biden heard the Harvard student read at the Library of Congress, the first lady knew she wanted to have Amanda speak at the inauguration.

With just one poem, Amanda has already earned a brand-new legion of fans and followers. In mere minutes, she gained 90,000 followers on Twitter following her appearance at the inauguration. And this is likely only the beginning.

As Oprah shared on Instagram, "I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @amandascgorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I."

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