It was one of the most memorable moments of the U.S. Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Amanda Gorman, America's first-ever Youth Poet Laureate showed people how, in just over five minutes, she could capture the attention of the world and deliver meaning to it.
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First Lady Jill Biden picked the Harvard graduate to talk about healing, home, harmony. In a post-inauguration interview with CNN, she talked about having only one month to research and prepare. She looked at past inaugural addresses by Presidents and poets and even modern-day tweets that led to the memorable line: "We've seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it." The youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a Presidential Inauguration gave a masterclass in meaning and delivery to speakers and communicators everywhere:
Content that was right for the audience and time
Confidence and authenticity at the podium
A verbal pace that ebbed and flowed; sometimes like a river, other times like a rollercoaster
Steady eye contact
Hand gestures that accentuated her words, but didn't overpower them
Clothing and a "look" that was striking and memorable, but not distracting
The poem's last stanza: When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
May we all step out of the shade and remember words Amanda spoke on a sunny, cold January day and the way that she spoke them.