Inaugural Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

On Wednesday, January 20, the twenty-two-year-old poet Amanda Gorman spoke as President Biden’s inaugural poet laureate. This remarkable young woman inspired the inaugural audience with her eloquence and grace.

Gorman was born in Los Angeles, California, and was raised by her single mother, Joan Wicks. She has two siblings, including a twin sister named Gabrielle. She attended Harvard University, graduating cum laude, and majored in sociology.

Gorman has a speech impediment and auditory processing disorder called rhotacism. It specifically concerns pronouncing “r”s in words. After years of speech therapy and practice, Gorman overcame her speech impediment and is able to speak clearly in front of a crowd.

First lady Dr. Jill Biden first heard Amanda Gorman speak at the Library of Congress in 2017. Three years later, Biden knew she had to contact Gorman to be the inaugural poet laureate.

Gorman read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” live to millions of people across the nation. She received recognition, not just from President and First Lady Biden themselves, but from celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oprah, and Lady Gaga.

Amanda Gorman inspires girls to be radiant, creative, and well-spoken. As she said in the inaugural poem, “If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.”

— Vienna Gurev