She made headlines after performing a poem during Joe Biden’s inauguration. But it would be remiss to call Amanda Gorman a one-hit wonder.
The poetic manifesto by the then 22-year-old Amanda Gorman that accompanied the inauguration of the Biden-Harris presidency in mid-January was one of the most frequently cited and commented on cultural texts in the first quarter of 2021. The Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo called her hypnotizing rendition a communal event: “A triumph for black women worldwide.” Lauren K. Alleyne, a published poet and Assistant Director of Furious Flower – the first academic centre for Black poetry in the US – expressed a similar sentiment on her Facebook page. She observed that “The Hill We Climb” is written “in the tradition of occasional poems including the five previous,” before adding that “sometimes the priority ain’t the poem, but the moment…”.
Already during the swearing-in of the President and Vice President, as her premiere performance of “The Hill We Climb” was in full swing, the recognizability of Amanda Gorman skyrocketed, reaching an unprecedented level – as far as poetry is concerned. The English-speaking internet was finally engulfed by a literary viral sensation, rather than by the virus that 2020 made us all too aware of. The rapidly circulated and instantly trendsetting recording of the Washington ceremony also served as an