Amanda Gorman overcomes speech impediment to become 2021 Inaugural Poet

Jane Corscadden January 19, 2021
Amanda Gorman overcomes speech impediment to become 2021 Inaugural Poet
Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Amanda Gorman is set to be the Inaugural Poet reciting at President Biden’s inauguration tomorrow, 20 January 2021. Not only is Gorman the youngest Inaugural Poet in history, but – like President Biden himself – Amanda Gorman had a speech impediment that she managed to overcome.

Here’s everything we know about Amanda Gorman ahead of her reading at tomorrow’s Presidential Inauguration.

Who is poet Amanda Gorman?

Amanda Gorman is a 22 year old poet and activist from Los Angeles, California. In April 2017, she was named the First National Youth Poet Laureate, while she was still a sophomore at Harvard.

Gorman has said she grew up in an environment with limited access to television and has described her younger self as a “weird child” who enjoyed reading and writing.

She has also talked about having an auditory processing disorder and being hypersensitive to sound.

Gorman attended Harvard University, where she studied sociology.

Her poetry and activism focuses on themes of oppression, race, feminism, and marginalisation.

As well as reciting her poem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration tomorrow, Gorman has stated she would like to run for president herself in 2036!

About Amanda Gorman’s speech impediment

Amanda Gorman had a speech impediment when she was young and found that poetry helped her overcome this. Like President Biden, who has spoken openly about overcoming a stutter, Gorman has been open about her speech impediment.

She had difficulty saying certain letters of the alphabet – finding the letter R particularly tricky – which led to her constantly self-editing.

Speaking to NPR about being the youngest Inaugural Poet in history, Gorman said: “I think there is a real history of orators who have had to struggle, a type of imposed voicelessness, you know, having that stage at inauguration. So, it’s really special for me.”

She will be following in the footsteps of famous Inaugural Poets, such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

The poem Amanda Gorman will be reciting at President Biden’s inauguration is titled The Hill We Climb. It was amended two weeks ago following riots at the Capitol.

Twitter reacts to youngest ever Inaugural Poet

Many Twitter users are over the moon at President Biden’s choice of Inaugural Poet.

Here are just a couple of reactions:

Some pointed out that, just like Biden, Amanda, too, had overcome a speech impediment.

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Jane is a freelance journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland specialising in news, culture and politics. She studied Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before completing a Journalism MA at the University of Ulster. Always trawling social media and keeping up to date with the latest trends and crazes, her main interest lies in digital culture and internet trends.