Amanda Gorman has gained over a million followers on Instagram after reciting original poetry at the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris.
Amanda Gorman has become the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a presidential inauguration! In doing so, she joins the ranks of beloved poets like Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Alexander, and Robert Frost, who have all recited poetry at previous inaugurations.
However, Gorman has also gone viral! On Instagram, she went from 100k followers on the morning of January 20th, to surpassing a million followers later that day! She’s also gained over 600k followers on Twitter. Here’s what we know about the rising poet:
LA Times reports that Gorman is 22 years old, and has a degree from Harvard, where she majored in sociology. She grew up in Los Angeles near Westchester, and her mother, Joan Wicks, taught middle school in Watts.
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Poetry first captivated Gorman when she was in the third grade and her teacher read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine.” This relationship with poetry developed and led her to become the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles when she was 16. In 2017, she became the first national youth poet laureate.
Like President Biden, Gorman had a speech impediment as a child. Certain letters, especially the letter R, were difficult to say. In an interview with NPR, Gorman says she had to “constantly self-edit and self-police” her language. This led to an awareness of the sonic experience that words can create, which helped her craft.
Dr. Jill Biden, the new First Lady, was a fan of Gorman, and convinced the inaugural committee that Gorman would be an excellent choice for President Biden’s inauguration. This ultimately led Gorman to deliver her poem, entitled “The Hill We Climb,” which can be read here. She’s received praise and recognition from celebrities like Oprah, Phillipa Soo, and more.
Oprah expresses her pride and joy at hearing Gorman here:
Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton and In The Heights tweets:
As for the future, Gorman is releasing two children’s books, the first entitled Change Sings. Gorman wanted to publish a book where “kids could see themselves represented as change-makers in history, rather than just observers.” She has also announced her intention to run for president in 2036, which is the first election cycle where she’ll be old enough to run.
It’s clear that Amanda Gorman is on the rise, and we can’t wait to see what she does next!