Amanda Gorman: With inspirational words, young poet shines bright at presidential inauguration


Poet and author, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman resembles the late legend Maya Angelou through her figures of speech. As Gorman speaks she has a bold yet gracious presence that floods the rooms and comes through the mic. 

While “Phenomenal Woman” is one of Maya Angelou’s most famous poems, Amanda Gorman embodies the words of Mrs. Angelou. She is a phenomenal woman for today’s youth.  


The mantle of poetry has now been passed to Gorman. 

This year’s inauguration was filled with Black Excellence as we welcomed Madam Vice President Kamala Harris. Alongside Harris being sworn into office, stood Amanda Gorman. 

 “Gorman has named Maya Angelou as one of her biggest inspirations—and she’s following in her footsteps by performing at a presidential inauguration. (Angelou performed “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.)

At the inauguration, Gorman paid homage to Angelou’s autobiographical novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as she wore a ring with a caged bird.  Oprah Winfrey gave Gorman the symbolic ring, as if she passed down the mantle of the poetess to Gorman by gifting her the ring of the caged bird. In 1993, Oprah did the same with Angelou, gifting her a coat. 


The wise Gorman once said, “The only approval you need is your own.”

Shortly after the inauguration, Gorman’s first book of poetry “Change Sings”  sold out on Amazon, and Gorman made history as she was the first poet to speak at the Super Bowl. 

From television shows to role models and icons, young girls, especially girls of color, are not regularly celebrated in the media. This leaves young girls with few role models. As a young African American female, I can happily say that Amanda Gorman created a breakthrough. We now have an icon in the media that looks like us. 

The masses of poetry fans have been comparing the young Amanda Gorman to the legend Maya Angelou, and I completely agree.

History has just begun.

So while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe? Now we assert, How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us? We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be. A country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.