Cover Amanda Gorman in a yellow Prada coat at the inauguration (Photo: Courtesy of Prada)

Amanda Gorman stole the show as America's first-ever youth poet laureate, powerfully delivering her poem The Hill We Climb at the inauguration

She walked into the limelight in style

A ray of sunshine that chased away the dark clouds that had settled over the nation after the storming of the US Capitol just 2 weeks ago, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman triumphed in a striking red satin headband and bright yellow double-breasted coat, both by Prada. Together with her powerful message of unity, her outfit was a welcome vision of hope and optimism. 

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She is following in the footsteps of Maya Angelou

In an interview with CBS, Gorman shared the mantra that she recited to herself in preparation for her inaugural poem reading: 

I am a daughter of black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke through chains and changed the world. They call me. 

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True to this sentiment, Gorman wore a ring in the shape of a caged bird from New York-based Of Rare Origin during the reading, in tribute to African-American poet, Maya Angelou, who read a poem entitled On the Pulse of Morning at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. The ring was a gift from Oprah Winfrey.

Now that we know that she draws her strength from those who came before her, her calls upon the new administration to "compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters and conditions of man" is a hundredfold more powerful. There is no doubt that Gorman's star is only beginning to rise.

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Above Youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman reads the inaugural poem

Her message: History has its eyes on us

Much to the delight of Hamilton fans, Gorman makes several references to the hit musical, which is based on the founding fathers of America. In her poem, she alludes to the Bible passage that the character of Washington sings in the musical and echoes the title of one of the more powerful songs in the soundtrack with these lines: 'For while we have our eyes on the future/ history has its eyes on us". 

Lin-Manuel Miranda himself has come out singing praises for Gorman's poem, describing it "perfectly written, perfectly delivered." And we are inclined to agree.

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She wants to be #CAmandaInChief 

Recently graduating from Harvard University, Gorman has expressed her desire to run for president in 2036, an interest that she even incorporates in her inaugural poem: "We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one." 

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She is lifting up a generation of poets


Gorman acting as the first ever youth poet laureate is a historic moment in the literary world, especially for young poets everywhere. Her reading breathes new life into the genre and with the much-anticipated release of her children's book, Change Sings, and her first poetry collection, The Hill We Climb, there will be a lasting spotlight on poetry as an art form for creative expression and activism—even as a tool for healing and introspection. 

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