Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Power of Words Softly Spoken

By Claire Booth

A bright yellow ray of sunlight and future promise came out on Wednesday. Sure, there was Joe Biden, but I’m talking about Amanda Gorman

In case you somehow missed it, either on live TV or on social media afterward, America’s Youth Poet Laureate recited a poem she wrote specifically for the Presidential Inauguration. 

“The Hill We Climb” stopped me in my tracks. Gorman stopped me in my tracks. Every word choice, every pause, every beat of the language was perfect. This time, the power of words was used for good.

There have been other poets who’ve appeared at inaugurations (Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Alexander) so asking Gorman wasn’t unprecedented. Still, it was a heartening showcase for the written word. An endorsement of things written with care and thoughtful intent. It warmed my weary writer’s heart like you wouldn’t believe.

“ . . .Where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one . . .”

Amanda Gorman, don’t give up that dream. The way you think and the oratory skills you summon could someday put you back on that inaugural stage, giving a different kind of speech.

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