Amanda Gorman has provided one of the most powerful moments of the inauguration of President Joe Biden with her text The Hill We Climb (The hill we climbed, in its Spanish translation). At 22, she has become the youngest poet to declaim at a government inauguration ceremony. The author recalled the force of the word after four years of incendiary proclamations shouted at the top of their lungs in the era of Donald Trump. Originally from vibrant and diverse Los Angeles, California, Gorman becomes the face of a community to which the Biden Administration seeks to give voice and hope. Or in his words: “Create a country committed to all the cultures, colors and characters of man.”
“There is always light if only we are brave enough to see it. If only we were brave enough to be it, “closed Gorman, dressed in bright yellow and a red headband that stood out in Washington gray. Her declamation drew applause from those around her on the Capitol stage. The poet claimed that she began writing the text minutes after receiving the invitation call from Biden’s transition team. He read Winston Churchill to help understand the rhetoric of power. Walt Whitman for inspiration and abolitionist activist Frederick Douglas for talking about the country he dreams of.
More important was the horror that made her finish it. On January 6, after thousands of Trump supporters stormed Congress, he was able to put an end to it. “It was as if someone flipped a button in my brain. I finished it that same day at night, ”Gorman confided to CNN.
Gorman’s poem has captivated audiences on a morning of formality. The Hill We Climb He eloquently describes the country full of darkness that Biden inherits and the fear of millions of Americans at the rise of extremist movements encouraged by Trump. “When the day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this shadow that never ends?”, Began questioning Gorman.
Laureate of the 2017 Young Poets Award, Gorman has filled her poetry with values and political ideals such as climate change and economic inequality. Two years ago remembered its origins: daughter of a single mother who is a sixth-year teacher in the Watts neighborhood, south of the Californian city. “It has endowed me with the value of education. Not only for me but for others … It helped me to take my education to another level, “he said.
He spoke of justice and hope, two words that were repeated by several of the speakers, but none with the power of the young African American. “Democracy may be delayed periodically, but it will never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith that we trust, we have our eyes set on the future. History has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption, ”he continued. “We will not return to what was, but we will move to what will be a bruised country, integrity, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.”
Gorman joins a handful of poets who have embellished the crude forms of power with words. In 1961 Robert Frost changed plans for John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic to reach the White House (Biden is the second). Frost recited one of his works from memory, forced by the strong winds that prevented him from reading the text he wrote for the occasion from the lectern. The young Californian also follows in the wake of Maya Angelou, who in 1993 declaimed In the pulse of a morning exactly 27 years ago, during the inauguration of Bill Clinton. Gorman also read Richard Blanco and Elizabeth Alexander’s texts of Obama-era ceremonies.
Unlike those who preceded her, Gorman stands before a country divided as never before and fractured on racial issues. This was also present in his work, which, like a good part of his texts, opens a path to hope for the future: “In some way we have resisted and we have witnessed a nation that is not broken, but simply unfinished. We, the successors of a country and a time when a skinny black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother, can dream of becoming president only to find ourselves reciting for one. “
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