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Inauguration Poet Amanda Gorman: “Words Matter”

Amanda Gorman, the United States’ first-ever youth poet laureate who recited a poem at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, said the purpose of her poetry was not only to provide hope, but to show the power of words.

“To me, words matter, and I think that’s kind of what made this inauguration that much more sentimental and special,” Gorman said.

She continued: “We’ve seen over the past few years the way in which the power of words has been violated and misappropriated. And what I wanted to do was kind of reclaim poetry as that site in which we can re-purify, re-sanctify, not only the Capitol building that we saw violated, but the power of words and invest that in kind of the highest office of the land.”

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Gorman talked about the importance of rebuilding and recovering in her poem today at the inauguration.

Here’s an excerpt of those lines:

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it

Read her full poem here.

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