Amanda Gorman did more than steal the show, more than capture Joe Biden’s inaugural moment. She may have opened a new road in poetry as well as politics with her ode to “a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.” For showing what public poetry could do there was never a day quite like it, and nobody quite like the “skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” as she said, “who could dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.” The lines are still resounding; the cadences of slam poetry, of Hamilton the show, that mind and voice trained on social media for a mass audience.Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
We’re into the First Hundred Days of Joe Biden’s Executive Orders, the first hundred days of Amanda Gorman’s vision of a recovering country. Gorman’s gift was to set uplifting language in the service of moral clarity – an example and a challenge that the tribe of poets and writers took as overdue.
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