‘The Hill We Climb’ – Poetry Returns to the Presidential Inauguration

Second inauguration of President Barack Obama

There have been five poems delivered by their poets at inaugurations of U.S. presidents, all of them Democrats.

It began when John F. Kennedy asked Robert Frost to read his poem “The Gift Outright” in 1961.

There was a long gap after that, and then in 1993 Bill Clinton asked Maya Angelou to present a poem at his first inauguration, and this time, it was written for the occasion, “On the Pulse of Morning.”

Clinton next asked Miller Williams to read at his second inauguration in 1997, and Williams gave his poem “Of History and Hope.”

In 2009, Elizabeth Alexander read her “Praise Song for the Day” at the first inauguration of Barack Obama.

In 2013, Obama asked Richard Blanco to read “One Today” at his second inauguration.

Tomorrow, poet Amanda Gorman will read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of Joe Biden.

Amanda Gorman – Abbie Trayler-Smith photo

Still in her early 20s, Gorman will be the youngest poet chosen for this honor, but she is not new to recognition of her talent. Her first poetry collection, The One for Whom Food is Not Enough was published in 2015, and in 2017, she was named as the inaugural National Youth Poet Laureate, and won a 2017 OZY Genius Award for Generation Empathy, her idea for creating a more inclusive and empathic community through virtual reality. She is the founder and executive director of One Pen One Page, which provides free creative writing programs for underserved young people.      

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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