Questions

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Who recommended Amanda Gorman to read a poem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration?

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What is a poet laureate?

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Why do you think people were so impressed with Amanda Gorman?

Amanda Gorman’s poetic vision

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Amanda Gorman is a 22-year-old poet. She recently read one of her poems at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The poem is called “The Hill We Climb.” Many viewers were impressed by the poem, and by how calm Amanda seemed. https://blogs.loc.gov/catbird/2021/01/for-there-is-always-light-amanda-gormans-inaugural-poem-the-hill-we-climb-delivers-message-of-unity/

Amanda is the youngest person to ever read an inaugural poem. Only four presidents have had poets read at their inauguration: Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and John Kennedy. These poets included Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. In this picture you can see Maya Angelou reading a poem at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.

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First Lady Jill Biden recommended her for this honor. Dr. Biden heard Amanda reading poetry after being announced as the first National Youth Poet Laureate in U.S. history. This is a photo of First Lady Jill Biden.

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A poet laureate is someone invited by a government to write poetry. Amanda wrote “The Hill We Climb” for the first day of a new presidential administration. She wanted her poem to be honest about problems our country has, but also hopeful.

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Amanda Gorman says she was always a writer. When she was growing up in Los Angeles, California, she was always writing in her notebook — even at recess!

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She loved to write stories and poems. But she didn’t always like to read them out loud, because she had a speech impediment. This means she had a hard time pronouncing certain sounds and words correctly. But, that did not stop her writing career, and eventually she overcame her speaking challenge.

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As a teenager, she was the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles. She went on to attend Harvard University. In this picture you can see Amanda signing the guestbook of the Poetry and Literature Center in Washington, D.C.

She has two books coming out later this year: a collection of poems called “The Hill We Climb,” and a picture book called “Change Sings.”  

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Amanda isn’t just interested in writing. She has said that she plans to run for president in 2036.  That will be when she is old enough to be president.