Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of Joe Biden on the West Front of the US Capitol on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse
National youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman has become the youngest ever poet to read at a presidential inauguration after she read at the inauguration of Joe Biden. At age 22, the artist has made news before.
“I have kind of stumbled upon this genre. It’s been something I find a lot of emotional reward in, writing something I can make people feel touched by, even if it's just for a night,” Gorman said in a recent interview.
Joe Biden is sworn in Jill Biden holds the Bible. AFP
As she read on Wednesday, she continued a tradition – for Democratic presidents – that includes such celebrated poets as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
The latter's “On the Pulse of Morning,” written for the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton, went on to sell more than 1 million copies when published in book form. Recent readers include poets Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco, both of whom Gorman has been in touch with. “The three of us are together in mind, body and spirit,” she said.
In 2014, Gorman was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and three years later she became the country's first National Youth Poet Laureate.
Amanda Gorman recites during the inauguration of Joe Biden. AFP
She has appeared on MTV; written a tribute to Black athletes for Nike; published her first book, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough, as a teenager; and has a two-book deal with Viking Children's Books. The first work, the picture book Change Sings, comes out later this year.
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