Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman

We the Future – Amanda Gorman by Kate De Ciccio

It was around this time two years ago, when a poster of  the first U.S. youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman was displayed in an exhibit case in The Class of 1945 Library’s Rockefeller Hall as part of Amplifier’s We the Future exhibit.  Today, at age 22, Amanda Gorman will be the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history.  To mark the swearing in of our 46th president Joe Biden and our first female, Black and Asian-American vice president Kamala Harris, Gorman will recite a poem titled “The Hill We Climb.”

In the poem she writes:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated…

Gorman follows the works of past inaugural poets who include Richard Blanco and Elizabeth Alexander, both who visited Phillips Exeter Academy in 2019.  Elizabeth Alexander was named a Lamont Poet in the spring of 2019 and Blanco’s memoir The Prince of Los Cocuyos was the Academy’s 2019 Common Read selection that following fall.

Visit these resources to learn more about the works of Gorman, Blanco, Alexander and other U.S. Inaugural Poets.