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Sat, 03.07.1998

Amanda Gorman, Poet born

Amanda Gorman

*Amanda Gorman was born on this date in 1998.  She is a Black poet and activist.

Amanda S. C. Gorman was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1998 and was raised by her mother, Joan Wicks, a teacher, with her two siblings. She has a twin sister, Gabrielle, who is a filmmaker. Gorman has said she grew up in an environment with limited television access. She has described her young self as a "weird child" who enjoyed reading and writing and was encouraged by her mother.  

Gorman has an auditory processing disorder and is hypersensitive to sound.  She also had a speech impediment during childhood. Gorman participated in speech therapy during her childhood.  Gorman attended New Roads, a private school in Santa Monica, for grades K–12. As a senior, Gorman received a Milken Family Foundation college scholarship. 

She studied sociology at Harvard College and graduated cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Gorman is a Black Catholic, a member of St. Brigid Church in her hometown of Los Angeles.  Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. Gorman was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. She published the poetry book The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough in 2015.  

She explained her speech impediment in 2018, "I always saw it as a strength because since I was experiencing these obstacles in terms of my auditory and vocal skills, I became good at reading and writing. I realized that at a young age when I was reciting the Marianne Deborah Williamson quote, 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure to my mom."  In 2020, she presented "Earthrise," a poem focused on the climate crisis.  

Gorman read her poem "The Hill We Climb" at President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, 2021, and is the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration in United States history.  Soon after Gorman's performance, her two upcoming books, a poetry collection titled The Hill We Climb and a project for youth titled Change Sings: A Children's Anthem, were at the top of the bestseller list. Both books are scheduled to be released in September 2021. 

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