The ‘stunning’ inauguration poem that sought to heal a divided America

American poet Amanda Gorman read a poem during the the 59th inaugural ceremony.

American poet Amanda Gorman read a poem during the the 59th inaugural ceremony. Photo: Getty

The 59th inauguration ceremony of US President Joe Biden was, in many ways, historic.

Vice President Kamala Harris became the highest-ranking woman – and woman of colour – in US history, while Mr Biden became the oldest president inaugurated at 78 years old.

It was also the day Amanda Gorman, 22, became the youngest poet to mark the transition of presidential power.

In her poem The Hill We Climb, Gorman offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country that has suffered more than 400,000 coronavirus deaths and ongoing unrest.

She quoted biblical scripture and echoed the oratory of John F Kennedy and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, among others.

Gorman now joins the ranks of previous inaugural poets Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander.

Her spoken word performance didn’t go unnoticed.

Joe Biden delivers his address at the US Capitol. Photo: Getty

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 election, praised Gorman for her “stunning” poem and hinted that the young artist will one day run for president.

Former president Barack Obama weighed in, and American parents across the country hailed her as an example for their children and a symbol of hope for the future.

Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, was named the Youth Poet Laureate of LA at 16 years old.

In 2017, she was named the first US National Youth Poet Laureate.

Kamala Harris being sworn in as Vice President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Photo: Getty

On Twitter, she revealed she was wearing a ring with a caged bird – a gift from Oprah – as she recited the poem, “to symbolise Maya Angelou, a previous inaugural poet”.

“Here’s to the women who have climbed my hills before,” she said.

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