American poet and activist Amanda Gorman reached a worldwide audience when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden in 2021.
Amanda Gorman Biography
Amanda Gorman was named the United States’ first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. She became the youngest poet to write and read at a presidential inauguration in 2021.
She captivated the Biden inauguration audience with her poem “The Hill We Climb,” which alluded to both painful history and hope for the future.
Gorman also read a poem at the 2021 Super Bowl, co-hosted the Met Gala in 2021, and was named an Estée Lauder Global Changemaker.
Gorman is a poet who is also an activist for climate change, equality, and education. She has wanted to run for president since she was 11 years old and plans to do so in 2036, the first election cycle in which she will be of voting age.
Prior to performing, Gorman recites the following mantra: “I’m the daughter of Black writers who are descended from Freedom Fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.”
|Real Name:||Amanda S.C. Gorman|
|Date of Birth||March 07, 1998|
|Place of Birth:||Los Angeles, California|
|Occupation:||Poet and Activist|
|Net Worth||$2 million|
Early Life and Education
Joan Wicks gave birth to Amanda Gorman on March 7, 1998, in Los Angeles, California. Amanda and her twin sister Gabrielle who is a filmmaker and an activist, were both born prematurely.
Gorman grew up in West Los Angeles and attended the private progressive school New Roads in Santa Monica. As her mother taught middle-school English in Watts, Gorman learned about disparities in educational opportunity.
Gorman was a youth delegate for the United Nations when she was 16. She attended Harvard University, where she majored in sociology.
Gorman graduated magna cum laude, remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020.
Writing and Poetry
By the time she was 5, Gorman would wake her mother early in the morning because she wanted paper to write. Hearing the poem “Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury in third grade was another early link to her love of poetry.
However, Gorman said in 2021, “I actually started writing poetry before I started reading it, mostly because at the time poetry wasn’t something that was taught robustly in my classrooms.”
At the age of 16, Gorman was named L.A. Youth Poet Laureate. She became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
Her organization, One Pen One Page was founded to promote youth literacy and creativity.
Gorman’s work has been published.
Inaugural Poem: “The Hill We Climb”
At the end of December 2020, the Biden Inaugural Committee invited Gorman to perform at the inauguration.
To prepare for this, Gorman read speeches by Frederick Douglass, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. She also studied the work of previous inaugural poets such as Maya Angelou, a longtime inspiration for her, and Elizabeth Alexander.
Gorman added lines to her poem following the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. She told the Los Angeles Times, “I crafted an inaugural poem that recognizes these scars and these wounds. Hopefully, it will move us toward healing them.”
Prior to 2021, Gorman had shared her poetry at the Obama White House, the Library of Congress and Lincoln Center. However, her unforgettable performance at the Biden-Harris inauguration brought Gorman to a new level of fame.
Gorman has signed with IMG Models, appeared on the cover of Vogue and inked a three-year deal with Estée Lauder to be its first Global Changemaker.
In that role, Gorman will appear in ads while also curating grants to promote literacy for women and girls.
Gorman also co-hosted the 2021 Met Gala, along with Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish and Naomi Osaka. At the event she appeared in an outfit inspired by the Statue of Liberty.
At the end of 2021, Gorman’s poem “A New Day’s Lyric” was released on Instagram’s official account to herald the new year of 2022.
Gorman felt the endeavor would help raise money for the International Rescue Committee, with Instagram contributing $50,000.
Gorman had a speech impediment as a child and was diagnosed with an auditory-processing disorder in kindergarten. As a result, she had difficulty pronouncing the letter “r” until she was about 20.
“I was born early, along with my twin,” Gorman explained to Oprah Winfrey, “and a lot of times, for infants, that can lead to learning delays.”
Gorman underwent speech therapy. She also discovered the Hamilton soundtrack to be helpful in pronouncing “r” sounds. “I’d listen to the ‘Aaron Burr, Sir’ track and try to do it over and over,” she explained.
Her situation had both advantages and disadvantages. Gorman revealed to Winfrey, “When you have to teach yourself how to say words from scratch, I believe it makes you a stronger writer.
When you learn to speak English through poetry, you gain a great understanding of sound, pitch, and pronunciation, so I consider my speech impediment to be one of my greatest strengths rather than a weakness.”
- Instagram: @amandascgorman
- Twitter: @TheAmandaGorman