Amanda Gorman reminds us that poetry is not a luxury

Her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” opened with a question about the human condition writ large. “When day comes we ask ourselves / where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” But immediately Gorman dove deep into our America, both this troubled moment and hard moments past — into, as she said, “the belly of the beast.”

The young Harvard grad was sharing a stage with leaders multiple times her age, leaders who have steered this country into and out of disasters of monumental consequence, often in the name of American exceptionalism. Gorman spoke her commanding truth to all that power — that healing the wounds of the past should become part of the American identity. Let’s unspool the lines as she recited them: …

The purifying power of poetry has existed as long as humans have wielded words. And for women especially, as Lorde said, poetry “is a vital necessity of our existence.” Biden’s inaugural words about unity and coming together were good and helpful and presidential. But it was Gorman’s truth that was the necessary one.

By Karen Attiah. The Washington Post

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