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.
- WATCH: Amanda Gorman reads inauguration poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’
- Poet tapped for inauguration to spread a message of unity – PBS News Hour
- Amanda Gorman captures the moment in verse – New York Times
- ‘History Has Its Eyes On Us.’ Poet Amanda Gorman Seeks Right Words For Inauguration – NPR
- Inaugural Poems in History – Read the poems and watch videos of past inaugural poets. From the American Academy of Poets.