February 2021

Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate


Amanda Gorman performs her poetry at the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021.

Amanda Gorman was born on March 7, 1998, in Los Angeles, California. She has a twin sister, Gabrielle, who is a filmmaker. Amanda and her siblings were raised by a single mother, Joan Wicks. Joan is a middle school teacher in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Inspired by her mother, Amanda developed a love for language at a young age. However, language didn’t always come easily. Amanda grew up with a speech impediment. In particular, she struggles to pronounce the letter R. She put in countless hours practicing this sound. She credits this practice with turning her into the performer she is today.

In 2014, Amanda Gorman was named Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate. She was just 16-years-old. In 2016, she founded One Pen One Page. This is a creative writing program for urban youth. In 2017, she was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. In 2020, she graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Sociology.

Her biggest opportunity, though, would come at the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., on January 20, 2021. That day, she performed a powerful poem on unity and the power of words. Less than one month later on February 7, 2021, Amanda Gorman performed another of her poems at the Super Bowl. This poem celebrated the contributions of three everyday heroes. They were a teacher, a nurse, and a military veteran.

Amanda Gorman says that she will be running for president in 2036. We will have to wait and see. But so far, she has conquered every challenge she has attempted in her young and extraordinary life.

photo credit: ©mccv/Shutterstock
Question 1
How old was Amanda Gorman when she was named Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate?

Question 2
Where has Amanda Gorman performed her poetry?

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