As if the relief and joy surrounding the Biden inauguration today wasn’t enough, the world got to experience the wise words of the first (she was chosen in 2017) National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, as she delivered her poem “The Hill We Climb,” written for the occasion. We can proudly say she is a native Angeleno.
Raised on the Westside by a single mother, Amanda is a twin, an activist, founder of a nonprofit focused on youth writing and leadership, a Harvard graduate, and as we all saw, crazy talented with the words. Here is another of her acclaimed poems, about her LA, racial, and gender identities.
Daughter’s Metro Map to City Identity
On Slauson I straddle Black girl tango
between northern heights
and south hair salons
Here I am diamond
on Western I am unclaimed Christian
scribbling homilies on spines
of wrinkled church fans
here I am veteran
clutching cement scar
I am bandage sticking to sidewalk
On Centinela I vibrate the highest
I am journal of streets
hymnal of homeless, homebound
impoverished and important
writing a city memory
the blood vessel sidewalks pumping my lungs
‘till I mold:
Two books, “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” and “The Hill We Climb: Poems” are scheduled to be published September 21st and, unsurprisingly, are already #1 and #2 on Amazon.