A star is born: 5 things to know about the young inaugural poet Amanda Gorman

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Photo by Alex Wong. (Getty Images)

In the eyes of many, the star of the inauguration wasn’t new President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris, or even musical talents such as Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez or Garth Brooks.

The Twitter world was on fire Wednesday after a stirring poem read by 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, who became a household name by the time her roughly five-minute rendition was over.

If you didn’t know much about Gorman before her speech, here are some things to learn.

1. She was the youngest inaugural poet ever.

At age 22, Gorman became the youngest person ever to recite an inaugural poem in the United States. It’s a list that includes Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Miller Williams, Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco.

2. She overcame a speech impediment as a child.

When she was young, Gorman had difficulty saying certain letters of the alphabet, especially words with the letter “R,” according to NPR.

Gorman said in the article that there was a time she’d intend to say “girls can change the world,” but she couldn’t pronounce all the letters, so she reverted to saying “young women can shape the globe.”

3. The incident on the U.S. Capitol inspired her poem.

After being asked by Biden to recite the poem on Inauguration Day, Gorman said she was about halfway through writing it before protesters overtook the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

After the incident took place, Gorman felt it was something she should address in her poem, and she finished it that night.

Part of her poem reads:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

History has its eyes on us.

4. She’s already performed at notable places.

Even before speaking at the inauguration, Gorman was no stranger to giving poems at famed locations. Gorman has recited poetry at the Library of Congress and at the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

5. She’s already an accomplished poet.

It hasn’t taken long for Gorman to rise in the poetry world.

In 2014, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles at the age of 16. Los Angeles is her hometown.

Three years later, while a student at Harvard, Gorman was named first National Youth Poet Laureate.

Gorman has also written a children’s book entitled, “Change Sings,” which is available on preorder.

What was your favorite part about Gorman’s poem at the inauguration? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.