In April of this year, nineteen-year-old Amanda Gorman was named the first Youth Poet Laureate. According to Poets and Writers, the award, which will be presented annually, “honors a teen poet who demonstrates not only extraordinary literary talent but also a proven record of community engagement and youth leadership.”
In 2016, Gorman established One Pen One Page, a nonprofit organization that provides an “online platform and creative writing program for student storytellers to change the world.” Gorman is the executive director of One Pen One Page.
Image Via The New York Times
She’s not just one of the most accomplished teenagers I’ve ever heard of, she’s one of the most accomplished people. Poets and Writers notes that:
For both her poetry and her advocacy, Gorman has been recognized by Forbes, the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the YoungArts Foundation, and the OZY Genius Awards. She has also performed on The Today Show, ABC Family, and Nickelodeon News, and helped introduce Hillary Clinton at the 2017 Global Leadership Awards.
She also published her first poetry collection in 2015, The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough. I haven’t even done one of those things. Not one. And she’s done them all. By age nineteen. It’s fine. I’m fine. Anyway.
Gorman takes her role seriously and hopes to use it to continue working for greater unity, saying, “I don’t just want to write—I want to do right as well.” Inspired first by a speech given by nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, she became a youth delegate for the United Nations, going on to become the inaugural Los Angeles Poet Laureate, before publishing The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough. In her acceptance speech in April, Gorman said:
For me, being able to stand on a stage as a spoken word poet, as someone who overcame a speech impediment, as the descendent of slaves who would have been prosecuted for reading and writing, I think it really symbolizes how, by pursuing a passion and never giving up, you can go as far as your wildest dreams,” said Gorman at the ceremony on Wednesday evening. “This represents such a significant moment because never in my opinion have the arts been more important than now.
What’s next for this teen trailblazer, you ask? The Presidency, obviously. “This is a long, long, faraway goal, but 2036 I am running for office to be president of the United States. So you can put that in your iCloud calendar.”
I will buy an iPhone specifically to do so, Madame President.
Featured Image Via The New York Times