The nation welcomed a new President and a history making Vice President Wednesday, Jan. 20. While millions watched the Presidential Inauguration on TV and online— they also heard the nation’s youngest Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, perform,The Hill We Climb, a poem aiming to heal a polarized country and imagine an unified future.
Germantown, a neighborhood thriving with artists, visual and spoken, were riveted to Gorman’s words. Local poet Yolanda Wisher took to Facebook after hearing the poet , and in her words, celebrated all Black girl poets.
“You don’t always want to hear our songs or believe they’re ours. But we keep singing & writing across the centuries,” Wisher’s Facebook post says, “We keep making more of us. we keep blooming here with worlds in our mouths. now, in the name of the [Audre] Lorde, ‘take our word for jewel in your open light.'”
Wisher wasn’t the only local poet excited about Wednesday’s inaugural poem . Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta Mayson and creator of Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line, says, “I wasn’t really expecting anything other than what was delivered, which was true brilliance.”
Gorman comforted many and stunned others; regardless, her words were a call for a united future. The country has experienced significant troubles :The COVID-19 pandemic, the
attack on the Capitol , the aggression of white supremacy and more. But before throwing in the towel on America, Gorman’s poem takes the problems and offers her perspective; and reflects on what Americans have endured.
“She talks about how we witnessed a nation that is not broken, but suddenly simply unfinished,” Local poet and author of Once Upon a Word Anthony Webbs says. “When we look at the rhetoric over the last year, everybody’s blaming somebody. She talks about the past, what has happened has happened, let’s learn from it.”
Find Amanda Gormans Inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, transcribed here.