Amanda Gorman: An Inspiration to Millions
By Reese Stevenson
What do you think of when you hear the words Super Bowl? A time full of football, tradition, and your uncle yelling at the athletes on the television to, “Run, run, run!”? Or maybe, you imagine sitting on the couch, eating your family’s homemade chips and dip. You certainly don’t think poetry.
Amanda Gorman is breaking through this wall.
This year, Amanda Gorman performed in front of 96.1 million viewers right before the coin toss on Sunday, February 7th, during Super Bowl LV. She has quickly become a nationwide phenomenon, inspiring children and adults alike.
As an aspiring writer myself, I am certainly among the young adults inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poems. When Gorman performed at President Biden’s Inauguration as the very first Youth Poet Laureate, her poem, The Hill We Climb, reached 33.8 million people. The poem discussed the past struggles and constant adversities many of us are faced with and the desire to keep fighting. Now, after her recitations at the inauguration and the Super Bowl, America is beginning to hear Amanda Gorman.
All of America knows her name.
All of America hears her voice.
Isn’t this something we all want, to be heard? As a young black woman, Amanda Gorman is showing writers that people are listening, that there are people who want to hear your voice. This is something many writers often doubt, especially in this age, where everyone seems to have bright, new ideas. We all wonder if anyone cares what we have to say; will anyone want to listen?
In her poems, she tells the stories and the truths that many people refuse to listen to. She is exploring the hardships of being a person of color in America, and is opening up conversations to sensitive topics. Amanda Gorman has taken her struggles and turned them into something positive, touching the lives of countless individuals and inspiring writers who have doubted the worth of their own messages and stories. The praise she has earned after reciting The Hill We Climb and her performance before Super Bowl LV has motivated fellow writers to use their voice and share their work.
The overwhelmingly positive reaction to Amanda Gorman’s poetry proves that there are people who want to listen. There are people who turned their television on during Super LV just to hear her honor three American heroes- veteran James Martin, educator Trimaine Davis and nurse Manager Suzie Dorner- all of whom have made significant contributions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. There are people who watched the inauguration, listened to Gorman’s recitation of The Hill We Climb, and immediately wanted more and bought her book. Amanda Gorman’s creative writing and her recent popularity has led many to indulge in writing their own writing as well.
Gorman has shown creative writers across the country that there is a place for them- or us. Our work no longer has to be hidden in a password protected computer, or stored in a locked file cabinet. Amanda Gorman has put herself out there and, in doing so, has inspired many creators to do the same.