Amanda Gorman Teaches Writing and Performing Poetry

Amanda Gorman

Lesson time 07:53 min

An introduction to poet Amanda Gorman, beyond her iconic reading of “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 inauguration. Amanda is the first National Youth Poet Laureate and has written three bestselling books.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] AMANDA GORMAN: Whoever you are, we all can harness the power of poetry to become stronger communicators, better leaders, and also more compassionate people. Being a writer, it's like being addicted to this beautiful, wondrous thing which is also so difficult, so overlooked, so underestimated. Every day, it's showing up to write and kind of, like, showing up and going to battle, like going to war. It necessitates real bravery. The poets that I admire, they're the poets who never put their pen down, who refused to be done, and who refused to be finished-- in a sense that they knew there's always another story to write, always another verse waiting on the horizon. And they engaged other people to look around and say, I don't think we're done yet. - Your words healed our wounds and resurrected our spirits. I think it was a shot of light, you know? It was just like, whoa! An infusion of light came into people's lives. AMANDA GORMAN: For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be in. [MUSIC PLAYING] - So in my short life, I've been very fortunate enough to have stages alongside the likes of the President. I've been asked to perform at places like the Library of Congress, the Super Bowl, inaugurations, at the top of the Empire State Building. I was named the Youth Poet Laureate of the West, first ever Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America. It was the first time that position had ever been granted to anybody. And it meant a lot to have that type of role in literary history. [MUSIC PLAYING] I started writing when I was pretty young, probably six or seven. And for me, writing was a crucial form of self-expression. At the time, I had a speech impediment, which made it very difficult for me to speak up for myself. But having this avenue through which I could communicate my thoughts and feelings on the page was huge for me. My mom had a huge role in making me the writer that I am today. Despite the fact that my mom is an English teacher, she wasn't over the moon about me wanting to become a poet because she knew how hard that type of life is. Typically, poets don't get paid in the same way that we should, especially if you're a Black woman. But she encouraged me incredibly in that path. Something that really inspired me to become the type of writer I wanted to be was the environment that I grew up in, the school that I went to, which was very social justice-minded. And it's something that I take into my poetry, where I don't only want to know the craft and mechanics of poetics. I also want to understand, how can a verse, a poem, change the world? That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare. It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It's the past we step into, and how we were parents. My most significant memory of reading poetry wa...

About the Instructor

Bestselling author. Electrifying performer. The youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. Amanda Gorman has revitalized poetry as a unifying form of expression and catalyst for social justice. Now she’s teaching you her deeply personal approach to writing. She’ll help you find your poetic purpose, fight through revisions, and prepare for performance. Discover poetry’s transcendent power to open minds and create change.

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Amanda Gorman

Award-winning Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman teaches you how to harness the power of poetry to become a more thoughtful, compassionate person.

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