Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
21 Jan 2021
11:44 am

Everyone’s talking about poet Amanda Gorman – here’s what you need to know

Kaunda Selisho

By accepting the invitation to perform, she made history as the youngest-ever poet to perform at a US presidential inauguration.

Poet Amanda Gorman recites one of her poems during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol on 20 January 2021 in Washington, DC. Picture: Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images/AFP

While you may not necessarily know her name yet, by now you have most probably seen a video clip or photograph of the young woman in yellow who performed at US President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

But who exactly is the woman in the yellow coat?

Amanda Gorman is a 22-year-old poet who delivered her work, The Hill We Climb, to the socially distanced audience in Washington DC and everyone else watching from home all over the world.

Gorman was recommended by US’s new First Lady, Jill Biden.

It was this same invitation that inspired her outfit for the day.

“She said, ‘I saw this video of you and you were wearing yellow and I loved it’,” Gorman told Vogue when recounting how Jill reached out to her.

By accepting the invitation to perform, she made history as the youngest-ever poet to perform at a US presidential inauguration – a feat she is no stranger to as she is also America’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate.

She is also a published author after having published a poetry book titled The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough in 2015.

Gorman, her twin sister Gabrielle and their other sibling were raised by their mother, Joan Wicks, who worked as a teacher.

Speaking to BBC News, the Los Angeles native revealed that she had a speech impediment when she was younger. In a past interview with New York Times, she further explained that she lives with an auditory processing disorder and is hypersensitive to sound as a result.

Gorman’s work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism and race, as well as the African diaspora.

Celebrities, from the likes of Oprah Winfrey to Aoki Lee Simmons to public figures like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, all had nothing but words of praise for Gorman after hearing her poem.

ALSO READ: ‘Democracy has prevailed’: Biden becomes 46th president

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