Amanda Gorman (22) made history as the youngest poet to perform at a US presidential inauguration when she recited her poem The Hill We Climb as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th US President today.
The Los Angeles-born writer, who stole the show from fellow inauguration guests such as Lady Gaga and Garth Brooks, follows in the footsteps of previous inaugural poets including Maya Angelou, Richard Blanco and Robert Frost.
There have only been a small number of inaugural poets in US history, with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and John F Kennedy being the only presidents who chose to have poems read at their inaugurations.
In the five-minute reading of the poem, Gorman calls for healing and unity in response to the Capitol Hill riots on January 6, which left five people dead.
"We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it / Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy / And this effort very nearly succeeded / But while democracy can be periodically delayed / It can never be permanently defeated," she read.
Gorman is a Harvard graduate who has previously written for the New York Times and has an upcoming book deal with Penguin Random House.
The Presidential inauguration is not the first high-profile event the young writer has been invited to, as her talent has seen her receive invitations to the Obama White House and to perform for Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Malala Yousafzai, and many others.
In 2014, Gorman was named the first Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and she became the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate three years later.
“America is messy. It’s still in its early development of all that we can become. And I have to recognise that in the poem.
“I crafted an inaugural poem that recognises these scars and these wounds. Hopefully, it will move us toward healing them.”
Gorman also revealed her own political aspirations, with plans to run for office in 2036.