The Quill

The Student News Site of BASIS Independent Silicon Valley

The Quill

The Quill

Previously published Feb. 26, 2021
Carlos M. Vazquez II; OCJCS

Previously published Feb. 26, 2021

On January 20, 2021, the Inauguration Day of President Joe Biden, “a skinny Black girl / descended from slaves and raised by a single mother / [who dreamt] of becoming president / [found] herself reciting for one.” In five minutes and fifty-three seconds, Amanda Gorman, the nation’s youngest Inauguration Poet at twenty-two years old and the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in history, found herself initiating the long-awaited healing of a nation still raw from the scars of domestic terrorism. Yet amid the healing, the recent Harvard University graduate broke down barriers for the American youth and for her fellow African Americans, all while championing the resilience of the American people.

Though the theme of Biden’s inauguration centered around “America United,” Amanda Gorman could not help but address the splintering of the nation given the attacks on the Capitol a week prior. Having consulted the speeches of some of America’s greatest leaders and revolutionaries such as Abraham Lincoln and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as former inaugural poet Richard Blanco, Amanda Gorman approached her writing process with more charged intimacy than ever, after heeding Blanco’s advice: “It’s just not one of us up there, it’s a representation of American poetry.” Yet, not only is Amanda Gorman marking a new era of American poetry, but she is forging a new frontier for the genre, for young people, and for the future of African American women. During these turbulent times, Gorman reminds us that, above all, “We are striving to forge a union with purpose, / to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and / conditions of man.”

Unlike those of her predecessors, Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb” does not just freeze history into a frame, but rather breathes life’s fluidity into the future of everything that we have yet to seize. For those who wish to cherish the poem in a physical copy, “The Hill We Climb” will be featured in Gorman’s debut poetry collection The Hill We Climb and Other Poems—a testament to hope and healing—this September.

Beyond its lineage of ode and elegy, “The Hill We Climb” is an anthem to the America we the people are building through the voices and vocations of the next generation — a generation Amanda Gorman is leading through trials toward triumph with the power of her poems.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Serrina Zou, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Alena Zeng, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Comments (0)

All The Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *