Presidential Poetry

Amanda Gorman did more than steal the show, more than capture Joe Biden’s inaugural moment. She may have opened a new road in poetry as well as politics with her ode to “a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.” For showing what public poetry could do there was never a day quite like it, and nobody quite like the “skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” as she said, “who could dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.” The lines are still resounding; the cadences of slam poetry, of Hamilton the show, that mind and voice trained on social media for a mass audience.

Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

We’re into the First Hundred Days of Joe Biden’s Executive Orders, the first hundred days of Amanda Gorman’s vision of a recovering country. Gorman’s gift was to set uplifting language in the service of moral clarity – an example and a challenge that the tribe of poets and writers took as overdue.

Guest List
Eileen Myles
Poet and former presidential candidate.
Clint Smith
Poet and scholar.
Stephanie Burt
Poet and critic.
Marianne Williamson
Bestselling author, spiritual thought leader, and former presidential candidate.

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