20 January 2021

The 22-year-old poet who stole the show at Joe Biden’s inauguration

In the end it was less about who wasn't there, and more about who was.

And yet it wasn't Joe Biden or Kamala Harris who grabbed the spotlight, not even Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez or country singer Garth Brooks.

Step forward 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, a Los Angeles-born writer and performer, and the youngest poet to perform at a presidential inauguration.

The stage and albeit limited audience at the ceremony sat spellbound as she read her own poem, The Hill We Climb, which she said she hoped would "speak to the moment" and "do this time justice".

"I really wanted to use my words to be a point of unity and collaboration and togetherness," she told the BBC.

"I think it's about a new chapter in the United States, about the future, and doing that through the elegance and beauty of words."

Gorman used the events at the Capitol on 6 January to complete the poem - the day the Capitol in Washington DC was stormed by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Gorman was born in LA in 1998 and had a speech impediment as a child - an affliction she shares with America's new president.

"It's made me the performer that I am and the storyteller that I strive to be," she said in an interview with the LA Times.

She became LA's youth poet laureate at 16 and three years later, while studying sociology at Harvard, became the first national youth poet laureate.

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