Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first youth poet laureate, captivated the hearts of Americans and likely anyone else who was listening to her deliver the Inauguration poem on Wednesday. In doing so, the 23-year-old became the nation’s youngest inaugural poet.
She delivered her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” in front of an audience assembled on the West front of the U.S. Capitol building to celebrate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris‘ historic political achievements. However, by the time she was done, people were still buzzing about what they had just witnessed.
“As an activist from Los Angeles, her work details issues of race, feminism, oppression, and themes from the African diaspora,” Madame Noire reported.
Gorman was named the first national youth poet laureate in 2017, winning an honor bestowed upon teen poets who demonstrate literary talent and community engagement. The Harvard University graduate ocuses on the area where feminism, race, youth and community intersect and is the founder and CEO of One Pen One Page, a nonprofit organization that seeks to change the world through student storytellers.
“The Hill We Climb” touched on a number of topics du jour, including race and national unity, making it especially resonate with those who heard her deliver it. But for some people, reading words are even more powerful than hearing them read.
Below is “The Hill We Climb” in its entirety as Gorman delivered it Wednesday:
“Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world: When day comes we ask ourselves, ‘where can we find light in this never-ending shade, the loss we carry, a sea we must wade?’