Amanda Gorman, the twenty-two-year-old poet laureate from Los Angeles, captivated everyone during the Inauguration of President Joe Biden with her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
Wednesday evening, she continued to stun and amaze with her brilliance during an exclusive interview with Anderson Cooper.
In the interview, Gorman talks about her process for writing the poem and how the events of January sixth impacted her poem.
“It energized me even more … and pushed me to believe in a message of hope, unity, and healing,” Gorman said. “I felt that was the type of poem that I needed to write, and it was the type of poem the country and the world needed to hear.”
Cooper then asks how the images of that day played a role in her writing. Gorman responded that they really didn’t.
“I’m a poet, so often I don’t work in images; I work in words and text,” she replied.
So rather than images, she took inspiration from what was being said online in articles and tweets.
As Gorman mentions, words do truly have power, and Gorman is incredible with them, and it really shows in this interview.
Cooper asks Gorman about writing the last line of her poem, “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.“
Gorman responds she had difficulties with it and wasn’t sure what to include, be, see, or free, so she included all of them, wanting the poem to end on a message of hope.
“Hope isn’t something we ask of others; it’s something we demand of ourselves.” Which is just such an incredible line.
Shifting gears, Cooper states how he had dyslexia as a child and acknowledges Gorman’s own speech impediment. Gorman states that she would drop a number of letters from words, so she uses writing as a form of self-expression to get her voice on the page and practice her pronunciation.
Bringing up the Hamilton references in her poem, Gorman elaborates on her struggles saying the letter ‘r’ and how she would listen to the song ‘Arron Burr, Sir’ and try to keep up with it since the song had a lot of r’s in it.
She said, “If I can train myself to do this song, I can train myself to do this letter.”
Continuing this discussion of the reading of her poem, Cooper asks her about the mantra she says before she recites her poems. It is then that Gorman leaves Cooper speechless as she recites her mantra:
“I’m the daughter of black writers who are descended from freedom fighters, who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.”
“Hmm… Wow … you are awesome. I am so transfixed,” Cooper eventually says.
Ending on a fun note, Cooper asks her about pictures she took with Hilary Clinton. Clinton tweeted suggesting Gorman run for President in 2036 when she is old enough.
She laughs and replies, “Madam President Gorman, I like the sound of that.”
And with that, Cooper ends the interview by saying, “It is just so thrilling to see such a bright talent burst like a supernova, so thank you.”
And I can’t agree more. Gorman is truly a bright young star in the literary world, and it’s so exciting to wait and see what she will do next.
Watch the full interview here.