January 21, 2021•249 words
Like many others across the country, I really enjoyed seeing Amanda Gorman recite at the Biden-Harris inauguration ceremony. She showed some awesome (as in inspiring awe) poetic ability. The spoken word style that she used - with varying rhythm and rhyme structure, plenty of wordplay, motion, and an intent to convey a message - was familiar to me, as I've had the chance to try out performing in spoken word events before. Now, being 'appreciated' and 'applauded is very different from being able to write and perform a pieceso good that it (arguably) upstages the POTUS. And she went further than that, too, doing interviews after the ceremony and fucking acing them. Having experienced the process of writing and performing a piece of my own (and doing interviews, I guess) made me appreciate just how good she is at it. It was not the type of thing I expected to see following the inauguration of a new president, but I'm nevertheless pleased that I had a chance to watch it live.
Side note: having done some research, I have come to realize that she is not employed by the government and was simply invited to speak. The title of "Youth Poet Laureate" is awarded by judges ("esteemed poets") appointed by a non-governmental organization, Urban Word NYC, but is sponsored by the library of congress and other government organizations. I had some wrong info in my previous version of this post, so I figured I'd update to rectify them.