Amanda Gorman, 24, is the nation’s youngest poet laureate. She’s received awards from College Women of the Year and the Webbys, and added inauguration poet to her resume in Jan. 2021. The writer was picked by first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, to join the likes of Maya Angelou (her hero) and Robert Frost by reading a poem at the 2021 inauguration.
She continued to impress not too long after, when she was a co-host at the 2021 Met Gala on Monday September 13. Amanda was one of the four stars named in May 2021 as a co-chair for the Met Gala’s return, via Vogue. The poet laureate filled the role alongside Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Timothée Chalamet. It was certainly an exciting evening for and before the event, she explained how thrilled she was, in a July interview with Porter.
“The closest analogy is feeling like Cinderella going to the ball,” she said. “I think this is really groundbreaking. I’m even more enthusiastic to see all the other writers and poets who may grace that red carpet in the future. And I hope that, when you see my look, you can feel what I’m saying loud and clear.”
Amanda indeed looked like Cinderella when she wore a gorgeous blue Vera Wang dress to the Met Gala. It was strapless and full of sparkles, and she paired it with blue strappy heels as her long hair was in a side braid. She also wore dangling earrings and topped off her look with sparkles on her face.
In 2022, Amanda spoke of being a poet, in an interview with NPR, and explained she feels it’s being “the language of the people” and even compared it to working in a democracy building. “The work of the poet is often the same work of democracy building,” she said. “It’s to equalize, it’s to connect, to engage, never to oppress.”
Here are five things you need to know about Amanda and her incredible work:
1. Amanda Read A Poem Inspired By The Capitol Siege
Amanda told the Associated Press that the riot at Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021 would be mentioned in “The Hill We Climb,” the poem she wrote for Joe Biden‘s inauguration. “That day gave me a second wave of energy to finish the poem,” Amanda said. “The poem isn’t blind. It isn’t turning your back to the evidence of discord and division.” Her poem moved viewers, when she recited it at the inauguration.
Amanda shared her thoughts about the riot on Twitter as it was happening: “Unarmed black people have been killed in our own homes, our own cars, our own schools. Meanwhile white protesters storm the US capitol. Racial equality doesn’t mean the death of these white protesters. Equality means that those black hearts should’ve been beating today.”
2. Amanda Is The United States’ 1st Youth Poet Laureate
Amanda received the prestigious distinction in 2017, when she was just 18 years old. She was praised by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and honored at Gracie Mansion in New York City with Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family. Amanda performed at the Library of Congress in 2020. Amanda has read poems for plenty of famous audiences. Besides Michelle Obama, She’s also performed for Hillary Clinton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Malala Yousafzai, and former Vice President Al Gore, according to her website. Amanda has also appeared several times on CBS This Morning to recite commissioned poetry.
3. Amanda Read A Poem At Super Bowl LV
Following her amazing performance at the inauguration, Amanda also kicked off Super Bowl LV with a stunning piece, praising essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today, we honor our three captains and their actions in a time of uncertainty and need,” she said in part. “They’ve taken the lead, exceeding all expectations, uplifting their communities as neighbors, leaders, and educators.”
4. Amanda Has Published Two Books Of Poetry
Amanda published her first collection of poems, The One for Whom Food is Not Enough, in 2015. In September 2021, her first children’s book debuts. Change Sings is illustrated by Loren Long, the illustrator behind former President Barack Obama‘s Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters. “As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves,” the book’s description reads. “Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.
Amanda released a collection of poems, named after her inauguration piece The Hill We Climb And Other Poems, in March 2021. She’s gearing up to re-release the collection in December under the title Call Us What We Carry. “The stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, and bursting with musical language and exploring themes of identity, grief, and memory; this lyric of hope and healing captures an important moment in our country’s consciousness while being utterly timeless,” the publisher describes the book.
5. Amanda Is The Founder Of One Pen One Page
One Pen One Page is an organization that “provides creative writing programming and publishing opportunities to underserved youth,” Amanda said in an interview with The Project For Women. “My mom is an English teacher at an inner-city public school, and it was after seeing the role of literacy in the lives of students of color that I realized how critical it was. I started teaching some creative writing workshops at my mom’s school when I was 15, and I got funding from the HERlead program to add a reading rewards initiative, leadership summit, and online blog to OPOP’s work.”