Amanda Gorman!

I expect most of my readers have already seen Amanda Gorman’s performance of her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ at Joe Biden’s inauguration as President of the USA earlier this week. (And even though of course President Biden won’t be the answer to all our prayers, it’s still a thrill to write those words in that sequence: (President Joe Biden.)

Amanda Gorman was an inspired choice. She’s youth poet laureate, and even if she’d read something trite, and read it badly, the symbolism of a 22-year-old African-American woman reading a poem she had written from that platform would have been amazing. But it’s a terrific poem, and her performance was/is thrilling. Confession: I could hardly listen to the words the first time, because I was enthralled by her brilliantly eloquent hands. As my regular readers will know, I’m a bit attached to rhyme. The rhyming in ‘The Hill We Climb’ is really something. For just one example, I love:

It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it

Anyjow, here’s the whole thing:

12 responses to “Amanda Gorman!

  1. Um…is this not greeting card quality prose cut up arbitrarily into lines? Or am I yet another patrician twat anchored in a foggy dream of Olden Times, splendour falling and all that


    • Haha! I started going to Spoken Word events a couple of years ago, and though Amanda Gorman read her text, I think she’s squarely in that tradition. Far from being arbitrary, the line breaks are key to the meaning, and performance brings out the looping rhythms, assonance and rhyme. Like many Spoken Word practitioners she uses her hands as part of the poem. It’s definitely not prose, but somwhere between speech and song. But there’s no point arguing about taste.


  2. Heart stopping..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. homageisnotafrenchword

    Absolutely no point.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you, Gorman was an inspired choice. Kate Tempest was the one who turned me onto spoken word poems, when she was out for the writers festival a few years back.

    Liked by 1 person

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