Friday, August 11, 2017

Poetry Friday -- New National Youth Poet Laureate!

Meet Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate!
"The unprecedented title, to be awarded annually, honors a teen poet who demonstrates not only extraordinary literary talent but also a proven record of community engagement and youth leadership," writes Maggie Millner.
At the age of 14, Amanda was the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Now 19, Amanda a freshman at Harvard, an advocate for the creative arts and writing in the lives of young girls across the globe, a published poet, an inspiration.
“For me, being able to stand on a stage as a spoken word poet, as someone who overcame a speech impediment, as the descendent of slaves who would have been prosecuted for reading and writing, I think it really symbolizes how, by pursuing a passion and never giving up, you can go as far as your wildest dreams,” said Gorman at the ceremony on Wednesday evening. “This represents such a significant moment because never in my opinion have the arts been more important than now.”
Here's a bit from her poem, At the Age of 18--Ode to Girls of Color:
At the age of 18 
I know my color is not warning, but a welcome. 
A girl of color is a lighthouse, an ultraviolet ray of power, potential, and promise 
My color does not mean caution, it means courage 
my dark does not mean danger, it means daring, 
my brown does not mean broken, it means bold backbone from working 
twice as hard to get half as far. 
Being a girl of color means I am key, path, and wonder all in one body.

Be sure you read the whole poem!

Here she is, performing Mirror, Mirror:

Read more about Amanda here and here and here and here.

Margaret has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Reflections on the Teche.


  1. I didn't even know there was such a title! LOVE that it has been awarded to a spoken word poet. And this reframe of color is beautiful... to find our own beauty, isn't that part of our life's work? Thank you. xo

  2. Wow - her body of work is so strong already! If there had been teen laureates when we were teens, we would all have written more, I think, and certainly read more poetry of substance. Lucky teens of today!

  3. Wow--what an amazing young woman and poet! I really love her Ode to Girls of Color! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Anonymous11:37 AM

    Wow. Just wow. "...we will set the sky alight with our magic." She is well on her way. Thank you for sharing this, Mary Lee!

  5. Ode to Girls of Color—bold, powerful, magnificent!

  6. Woo hoo! Go, Amanda! The world is going to be all right with poets like her shining bright.

  7. This was quite a treat, Mary Lee, what an exceptional individual, writer and performer, thanks for sharing Amanda Gorman with us, I look forward to hearing more about her and her poetry!

  8. I wish I could have known of her when teaching just a few years ago. We did spoken word poetry and Amanda would have been quite an inspiration. I didn't know of this title, either, and her poem is so strong. Thanks!

  9. So nice to see young poets encouraged, and honored, in their work.
    Thanks for featuring Amanda Gorman this week!

  10. A great share! Thanks for highlighting this strong voice today!

  11. What a powerhouse of a teen. She is already setting hearts alight with her magic. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. Wow! What a powerful role model she is and will be. Exciting to see where she goes! Thanks for bringing Miss Gorman and this position to our attention. -- Christie @

  13. How fantastic! What an incredible opportunity for young poets to share their power and brilliance with the world, and inspire their peers to share their words.

  14. Someone has a dynamite future ahead of them. Many congrats, Amanda!


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