Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, read an original work at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
After Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president, Gorman read “The Hill We Climb,” building on a tradition of poets — including Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco — who have read for incoming Democratic presidents. Gorman is the youngest of these inaugural poets to offer her verse.
The Los Angeles native told the PBS NewsHour days before the ceremony that she started writing the new poem in early January, shortly after being invited to present an inauguration poem.
When pro-Trump insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, she was about halfway through her poem.
“I don’t want to say that my poem took a drastic left turn, because it was already going towards a location, but those events just solidified for me how important it was to have a poem about unity and the new chapter of America in this inauguration,” she told the NewsHour.