WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.” 

 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

8 Things to Know About Amanda Gorman

Meet the 22-year-old poet everyone is talking about

(Photo By Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

On Wednesday, January 20, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in to office. At the inaugural ceremony, Amanda Gorman, 22, recited a poem that she wrote. It is called “The Hill We Climb.” Since then, a video of her performance has gone viral. People all over the world have been talking about her message of unity, hope, and change.  

Here are eight things to know about this inspiring young poet. 

1. Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in American history.

Inviting a poet to perform at the inaugural ceremony is a tradition. It began with President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Since then, three other presidents have invited poets to speak at their inaugurations. Past inaugural poets include Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.  

2. She has a speech impediment.

It’s hard for Gorman to say certain letters of the alphabet. The letter r is especially hard for her. As a kid, she began writing poetry. Then in high school, she began reciting her poetry out loud. This helped her improve her speech. (She says singing songs from one of her favorite musicals, Hamilton!, also helped.)

(Erin Schaff/The New York Times/Redux)

Amanda Gorman, 22, reads her poem during the inaugural ceremony. By doing so, she became the youngest inaugural poet in American history.

3. She did a lot of research before writing “The Hill We Climb.”

Gorman studied speeches by past leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. These speeches helped her understand how words can be used for good.

4. In 2017, she was named the nation’s first ever National Youth Poet Laureate. 

A National Youth Poet Laureate is the winner of a national competition. It honors young poets for their talent and the meaning of their work. As National Youth Poet Laureate, Gorman recited her work at special events. She also performed her poems on TV.

For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it—if only we are brave enough to be it. —“The Hill We Climb,” by Amanda Gorman

5. She has written two books.

One is a children’s book called Change Sings. The other is a book of her poetry called The Hill We Climb. Both will come out in September 2021.

6. She’s an activist.

Many of Gorman’s poems talk about racism and other important issues. She believes that poetry can be a tool used for change.

(Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages) via AP Images

Amanda Gorman speaks at an event in her hometown of Los Angeles, California. 

7. She has won several awards from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

These awards were founded in 1923. Their goal is to honor the talent and creativity of teens across the country. In 2015 and 2016, Gorman won several regional awards in the competition. In 2016, she won the national Silver Medal for novel writing.

8. She wants to be president one day.

In 2017, Gorman told The New York Times that she wants to run for president in 2036. The idea came from a conversation with a teacher. She included this goal in her inaugural poem. See if you can find it!

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