On Jan. 20 Amanda Gorman made history at President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration ceremony. The 22-year-old poet read her poem “The Hill We Climb” to the crowd gathered in Washington D.C. at the Capital and to the entire nation, making her the first-ever youth poet laureate to present.
Gorman set a new record as the youngest person to ever present a poem at an inauguration ceremony in the history of the United States.
Just weeks after presenting her poem Gorman was signed with the modeling agency IMG, which has represented high- profile models such as Gigi Hadid and recently signed Kamala Harris’s stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff. Gorman will also be presenting at the 2021 Superbowl.
In a press release, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced, “We are honored to recognize these three individuals who represent the best in all of us,” Goodell said. “We are grateful for their commitment and proud to share their stories and recognize them during this special moment on Super Bowl Sunday.”
With increasing numbers of young people taking interesting American politics and voting, Gorman sets an example as to how age should in no way restrict people from making a difference.
Gabrielle VanSant, senior creative writing major, said that age should never disqualify an author.
“Just because they’re young doesn’t mean they can’t be heard,” VanSant said.
VanSant emphasized the emotional importance that works of creative writing such as poetry hold as well and how spaces for sharing work can lead to better understanding.
“Creative writing is a really emotional and mental creation as well as a physical one,” VanSant said. “I find when I write I get to share a part of myself with the world. When there are spaces to share it, people can bounce ideas off of each other and give encouragement as well, which is super healthy for writers.”
Students said the opportunity to have poets, particularly young authors and activists such as Gorman, is inspiring and can fuel changes and hope for future generations.
Allison Weaver, junior English major, said seeing artists present their work is a powerful experience for everyone.
“Seeing someone like Amanda Gorman truly is going to leave an impressionable mark not only for young authors but young boys and girls all around the world,” Weaver said. “To see such a talented girl reciting a poem for one of the highest levels of government was quite liberating.”
Gorman has also continually used her platform to inspire activism and work towards social changes through her powerful writing and public image.
Weaver said that creative writing can often be utilized for the greater good and that things such as social media also help artists inspire others through their work.
“You don’t realize how many people you can reach even with something as simple as your degree.” Weaver said. “Living in the era of social media, people like Amanda can use their platforms to use their course of studies to integrate a creative element such as poetry to reach people, It’s beautiful how we can take something we have studied and something we are creative with and inspire others with it.”
Weaver also urged students to invest time in reading and appreciating historical American literature.
“We often forget that Black History is also American History,” Weaver said. “People like Amanda Gorman will forever be ingrained in our minds, and now hopefully our history books. Continue to read Black literature and other culture’s literature to expand your knowledge.”