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Amanda Gorman Overcame A Speech Impediment To Become Youngest Inaugural Poet

I love that we’re talking about poetry today instead of “American carnage.” It’s really refreshing, and I hope we’ll be talking about poetry much more because the arts are so important. While President Biden’s and Vice President Harris’ inauguration was peppered with quotes from poems, the poet everyone was talking about was 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, who read a stunning inauguration poem she prepared for the event.

Amanda Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet, and she also had to overcome a stutter—just like President Biden.

The poem, which is called “The Hill We Climb,” touched on so many significant issues we have to work on as Americans as well as providing a sense of much-needed hope.

“I had a speech impediment. And so I couldn’t use my voice, then I would author my voice on the page. So it’s really been a godsend and a lifeline for me,” Gorman told “CBS This Morning” co-host Anthony Mason before her performance.

But Gorman wasn’t happy with just writing words on the page—she wanted to perform them.

“And so once I arrived at the point in my life in high school, where I said, ‘you know what? Writing my poems on the page isn’t enough for me. I have to give them breath, and life, I have to perform them as I am.’ That was the moment that I was able to grow past my speech impediment,” she said.

Gorman said that part of her process for writing “The Hill We Climb” was researching the speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But she knew she had to add more when the riots at the Capitol took place on Jan. 6th

“And then on the Wednesday in which we saw the insurrection at the Capitol, that was the day that the poem really came to life. And I really put pedal to the metal,” Gorman said.

Like many writers, an event happening in real-time forced her to rethink the direction her poem was taking.

“I wanted it to be a message of hope and unity. And I think that Wednesday for me really just underscored how much that was needed,” she said. “But to not turn a blind eye to the cracks that really need to be filled.”

Lead image: Twitter

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi