Gutsy Goddess—Amanda

My eyes filled with tears when I watched Amanda perform her amazing poem: "Neighborhood Anthem." I'm honored to have our National Youth Poet Laureate as a Gutsy Goddess.

“Life has broken me into a million shards

But like ocean salt on a coastline I am still so

Glorious in my fragmentation”

A Sunday on the Island of Woman by Amanda Gorman.

“One challenge I’m constantly dealing with is that of self-doubt or ‘impostor syndrome’. It’s all too easy to start believing the insecurities the world projects onto you, belittling your potential as a woman, as a person of color, as a young individual, etc. You might inwardly ask yourself “Do I deserve to be here?” or “Is this all just luck?”

“When I was named the Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, I really wondered if I was worthy. I kept comparing myself to these recognized slam poets–I’d never done a slam competition before–who seemed far more experienced than me. I was particularly anxious doing spoken word poetry because I was still in speech therapy trying to overcome a speech impediment I’d had all my life. I quivered at the thought of performing, and when I won the title, amidst that shock was the thought: “Did they choose right?”

“As I continued throughout my tenure, I knew at the end of the day being Youth Poet Laureate wasn’t about my own personal doubts, but about what I could contribute to my community as a literary advocate. I put my struggling ego out of the picture and focused solely on what I could do in that moment to help elevate the literary scene in my diverse, beautiful community. I started One Pen One Page, a community project that promotes youth leadership and literacy development, spoke to youth around my city and the nation, and held an online workshop program with schoolgirls in Afghanistan. I took a breath and understood that I had been chosen to be laureate for a reason and should believe in my skills with poetry, community leadership, activism,and  public speaking. When you’ve worked long and hard at something, don’t give people the privilege of belittling you. The only person you’re in competition with is your past self, and the person you are now is here and believed in for a reason.

“The best part of overcoming challenges is the ability to use that experience to help inspire and support others. It always makes my day when I speak about my challenges with an auditory processing disorder, and after my performance get to meet a child who is going through the same thing. It’s an out-of-body experience when they tell me I’ve helped inspire them, because in reality it’s the other way around! At one workshop I taught to elementary school students, I had them sign my journal. On bad days I still look back at those pages with their signatures because their names remind me why I do what I do, that in my pushing on I can be part of a larger accomplishment of helping other young writers do the same.”

“Loving girls are more than broken dust

We are celestial

left in a place so dark

so that we might glow”

Celestial by Amanda Gorman

 

“And just like that I begin to believe again

That maybe I can find someone

Who knows how to love the love

Back into me”

She Prays for Resurrection by Amanda Gorman

 

“All at once I am my own daughter, mother, grandmother.

I am in a rocking chair, womb, and crib.

I am the rocking chair, womb, and crib.

I am both victim and healing lady of the moon.

If I can’t hold myself together,

Then I’ll just hold myself

For my own sake.”

How I Convince Myself to Love Myself by Amanda Gorman

 

Please check out Amanda’a amazing performance.

For more on Amanda’s first book of poetry click here.

For more Gutsy Goddesses click here.

We would love to have you join the conversation. Do you have thoughts you would like to share, or questions for Amanda? Do you ever have self doubt, thoughts on overcoming self doubt? Please comment below. You never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.

EXCITING NEWS 1/18/21—Amanda Gorman will be speaking her poetry at President-Elect Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. Please join the conversation and send your CONGRATS below.

Also she has just written her first children’s book Change Sings. You can learn more about Change Sings and preorder here.

168 Comments

  1. Powerful voice! Amazing!

    • Powerful voice and strong words. Have you seen her video from the LA slam poetry contest—jaw dropping! Thanks for you comment and visit Nancy.

      • You Are an Eloquent and Talented Woman Whose Soulful Angelic Light and Poetry Provides Hope and Inspiration to All the World!
        🙏🏼💞God Bless You Forevermore😇💞

        • Thanks for your comment Margaret. I love your phrase “Soulful Angelic Light,” as I can picture her that way. Welcome to this blog of inspiration; I do hope you will return and continue to join our conversation.Nice to virtually meet you.
          Heidi

      • Thank you for your inspiration of literacy and of those who need to be lifted up by your words. As a teacher I feel you are an amazing role model. Thank you for being you!

        • Welcome to this blog Dawn, great to have you and to read your comments. I used to teach. It is one of the most valuable professions as it truly shapes our future. I’ve been excited to read of several teachers who have shared Amanda’s poetry with students, and am excited to see of Amanda’s newest book for young children (out next summer). Thank you for the important work you do; I suspect it hasn’t been easy through the pandemic. I hope you will return to read about other women of courage and brave books, and share any favorites you have. Am grateful that you feel inspired.

      • Wonderful strength and humility. Love the idea of having the children sign her autograph book!

        • Amanda Gorman, you are the sun on a cold winter day. You make a difference and inspire others to do so, as well. Thank you, from Ouzinkie AK.

          • Welcome Kerry! How exciting for me to get a post from someone from Ouzimke! I was born in Seward, AK, and it is truly a place of my heart. When you write about the “sun on a cold winter day” it says so much. I do hope you will return and read of other Gutsy Goddesses, including Alaskan Lisbeth Meredith.
            Heidi (a sourdough)

        • Welcome to Laughing at the Sky Jane, and thanks for joining the conversation. I will most certainly share your comment with her. I know it will bring a smile to her radiant face.
          Heidi

      • Thank you for sharing your wonderful words with us!

        • Welcome Carol and thanks for your comment and wonderful words too. At times I wonder who if anyone might be reading the blog and am always grateful for comments. Please feel welcome to come back anytime and read about other women of courage and brave books.
          Heidi

    • Absolutely amazing young woman! I was moved to tears when she presented “The Hill We Climb” I have already preordered her book

      • Welcome Alexandra and thanks for your comments. I think she has moved me to tears at least four times now. I’ve preordered both her new books too. Happy anticipation and reading, and do feel welcome to return and join the conversation any time.
        Heidi

    • Kristin M Phillips February 11, 2021 at 7:25 pm

      Yes!

    • The words powerful, moving, honest and vulnerable come to mind when I think of your performance at the inauguration.
      Thank you!

    • Your words and story are so powerful and moving. There is something very transformational that happens when I read and hear your poetry. Thank you for sharing the story of your journey along the way. You will inspire so many!

      • Welcome Svetiana! I love your word “Transformational.” I’m writing a memoir and also have created this blog in collaboration with others, and I often use the words “transcending” and “rise above” for people who inspire after a major challenge. I am always seeking new words for this and “transformational” is brilliant. It speaks to the inspirer and inspired. So glad you left this comment. I hope you will return and find more transformational stories and brave books. Thanks, Heidi

    • Oh!!!…I have never found anyone else to mention the “lady of the moon.” I have seen her!!! The most gorgeous, full-moon cameo…forever vintage jewelry…worn on black night velvet…she looks over her right shoulder and long hair toward earth…she IS there..keep looking…she IS there!

      • Welcome Carole! I found your comment so interesting. I’m curious about your connotation of “lady of the moon.”Any chance you might share more and enlighten us or add a link? I did a quick google search and saw something form ancient China, and something from Native American medicine, and Greek Mythology, and another note of the “triple goddess.” I supposed many cultures have stories that include lady moon, yet I feel I am missing something specific from what you are seeing. Either way, I hope, like the moon, you will return and bring us more light. Heidi

  2. I resonate so much with the feeling of “imposter syndrome” that Amanda describes. Her courage and strength is amazing, and it’s wonderful to see someone so talented also be so authentic and vulnerable.

    • Thanks for your brave words Katie and welcome to our community. Sharing our fears and our stories can help us to feel and be less alone, and helps others. I like the quote: ” Whenever you find yourself doubting on how far you can go, remember how far you have come.” (unknown)

      • Ms Amanda you are awesome. The best modern day poet in my opinion. No one has touched me as you have. Thank you for your words, allowing all of us to feel them,you rock.

        • Thanks for your comment Chris. I feel the same. No one has touched me as much as she has. I love the power, strength, and hope she gives to words and also her story of rise above a life’s challenge. Thanks you for reading and commenting. Heidi

    • Words matter, I’ve forgotten that many times in my life. Your words inspire, even those of us in middle age, struggling with imposter syndrome ourselves.

      • Power. Honesty. Truth. Pain. Amanda’s range encompasses feelings most run away from. She reigns supreme in her angst, anger and autonomy.

        • Welcome Sharlene and heartfelt thanks for your insightful comment. It is true that many of us run away from these feelings — I have (actually sailed away on a five year odyssey trying to leave my pain behind)– yet it followed me. And when I turned around to embrace my feeling it made my life so full.
          I hope you will continue to be part of this conversations on people of courage and brave books.
          Heidi
          Heidi

      • Thank you for you comment Juli and for sharing a piece of your own journey. I’m glad you found inspiration and hope it has lifted a bit of your struggles. Amanda has certainly lifted me. Please know you are always welcome here and we do hope you return and continue to join our conversation about women of courage and brave books.
        Heidi

  3. Amazing and powerful words.

  4. I recently had a small taste of that strange “I’m not worthy” phenomenon. It made me hyper self-conscious. I fretted over every word, every look, I gave or received. Did they know my secret? Did they know that perhaps I didn’t deserve what I had been given?
    But after puzzling about it for awhile and wondering why I just felt so odd I realized, as Amanda did, that my fear of the spotlight shouldn’t stop me from being a contribution. Doing the things I do best and letting the world react as it may. Sometimes with praise, other times with censure, the way others are cannot really impact me–the core of me. And that’s an important lesson. Without it, we can’t become like Amanda, a tremendous advocate for the things and people that matter to her.
    I love your portraits of inspiring people. They do what they are supposed to do: Raise us up.

    • What a touching comment Angela. Thanks so much for this contribution and your insight. I must admit I’m still impacted by what others say. My confidence has risen after coming out with my story and sailing 12,000 nautical miles to French Polynesia (my lifelong dream). I am still, however self-conscious, and fret over words, photos, posts… I love your focus, and Amanda’s, being about the contribution. It’s a great reminder of why we’re doing this. Heartfelt thanks too for the note that these portraits “raise us up.”. The sign I carried at the 2017 Women’s March read—Rise Up With Love.

  5. I love your beautiful and powerful words. They speak to my heart.

    • Thanks MC. Her poems are so powerful and beautiful and I love the way she speaks her truth. Have you checked out her videos? She has such a presence. Thank you for stopping by. Knowing this touched your heart, also touches mine.

  6. Hello and greetings from Hamburg /Germany

    Could you please send me a link of a video of Ms Gorman?
    Thanx a lot
    Ingo

    • Guten Tag Ingo!
      I’m so glad her words have reached you in Hamburg. Here’s a video of her poem today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ055ilIiN4 Also ff you click on the link above that reads “Read more about “Women of Courage Amanda Gorman” and then click on “Please check out Amanda’s amazing performance” you will see another incredible slam poem. Thanks you for joining our conversation. If you have a favorite line from her poetry I would love to share it. One of mine is, “For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
      Heidi

      • Hello Heidi
        Thx 4 ur reply. Yes, as the POTUS has always had also a meaning for the whole world and the fate of our planet, i also impatiently followed President Biden’s innaugaration here in Hamburg.
        … as i often contemplate about the state of this fucked up world we live in and what we r leaving 2 future generations, the line from Ms Gorman clinging on the hardest in my mind is:
        … Love becomes the legacy in change our children’s birth right.
        (i hope i quote correct)
        Unfortunately there is really no other way in coping with all these idiots and racist wannabes but Love, even tough one actually might wanna pack all these Morons including Trump and associates in a couple of Air planes and set them out in Homs or another city brutally destroyed by war, provide them with food, equipment and materials and leave them there, creating Jobs for peaceful supervision (to make sure they stay there and no sober, clean ear can hear their lies) and supply chains, so they can do whatever they want there in the ruins: building it up again or preach there sick, useless views and opinions among themselves but far away from reasonable, good people and of course the children.
        Yes, not doable and only another sick fantasy but in the end it would also be an expression of love for our children as i understand Ms Gorman’s line ….. 😊
        Greetings
        Ingo

        • Hello Ingo, Thanks for your comment. I love the line you highlighted: “… then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.” and also Amanda Gorman’s call to us “…we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid, the new dawn balloons, as we free it. For there was always light.If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.
          From your writing I believe you are brave. For me, the way we cope is through love and also through truth. So many people have fallen prey to manufactured lies and before I condemn “them” I wonder how we collectively continue to expose this billion dollar industry of manufactured falsehoods. I was pleased to hear President Biden last night say, “There is Truth and there are lies … each of us has a duty …Defend the Truth. Defeat the lies
          I have a shirt I wear when I feel fierce or need strength. It reads, “Love Wins” I also carry a sign with it at protests. My fantasy—my dream—is that we continue to defeat the lies and live in truth and love.
          Thank you so much for your wisdom.
          Heidi

  7. I am so thrilled to have found this blog: Gutsy Goddesses. Otherwise, I never would have heard of Amanda Gorman prior to the inauguration, and may have consequently missed her moving piece from today. Since learning about Ms. Gorman on this blog, I’ve made a point to further read up on her as well as about other women spotlighted here. It’s helpful and inspiring to read that women who have achieved high goals also had known obstacles and self-doubt to overcome. I am going to print and hang on my bedroom wall the following quote, published on this site: “Life has broken me into a million shards

    But like ocean salt on a coastline I am still so

    Glorious in my fragmentation”

    A Sunday on the Island of Woman by Amanda Gorman.
    thank you!

    • Heartfelt thanks for leaving a comment Jennifer. I’m thrilled—you’re thrilled, and especially that you’re putting that beautiful quote on your wall, it’s so beautifully visual. One of my favorite quotes from her poem today is: “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” I hope you will continue to read further and do know we’re really are grateful for comments. I have a quote, not as eloquent as Amanda however I will share it here: You never know who your words may inspire or where that inspiration will lead.
      I also hope you continue to shine, “glorious in your fragmentation.”
      Heidi

      • Now I know where those beautiful words come from – a warm and kind heart. Thank you for sharing with us, and thank you for sharing with those in need. ❤️

  8. WOW … Amanda … what an amazing performance (if that is the right word) at Job Biden’s inauguration this morning. I was blown away by your presence and more importantly searing insight. Fantastic! Thank you!

  9. What a remarkable young woman who deserves her place in history at this important moment in time. And this is only the beginning for her.

    • Your words, like her words, bring me hope. I too feel this is only the beginning for her. I heard her say that she may run for President in 2036, and one of my commenters on this blog said she promised Hillary Clinton she would. s. Gorman says she is an activist whose weapon in poetry. Thank you so much for joining our conversation. I hope you will continue to check in and comment.
      Heidi

  10. Amanda, you are amazing! I cannot wait to purchase your books. Blessings to you as you continue to push us to think beyond ourselves. You inspire and lift each and everyone of us up.
    Great job today at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
    Natalie

    • Natalie, Heidi here, I cannot agree with you more—she is amazing and inspires us to think beyond ourselves. Thanks so much for leaving this heartfelt note to her. I’m sure she will read it when/if life settles down just a bit. Either way I will pass it on to her.
      Heidi

  11. I have been following this blog for several years and remember having read about Amanda Gorman through this site. I was so thrilled to see and hear today at the Inauguration! What an articulate wise young lady! She was so inspiring! I look forward to hearing more from Amanda in the future. Thanks Laughing at the Sky for introducing us to such amazing Gutsy Goddesses!

    • Thanks Denise. So glad you recognized Amanda Gorman from this blog. She was a teen when I first interviewed her. While I was blown away by her high school performance I am finding this unfolding profound. I do believe we will see more of her in the future. Thank you so much for your comment, it means a lot. I do hope you will continue to join into these conversations. I have a saying, you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.
      Heidi

  12. Excellent site here, Heidi, and love your piece on Amanda Gorman. She certainly stole the show at yesterday’s Inauguration! (It was great to find out that she was selected by Dr. Jill Biden.) I love this interview of Ms. Gorman by Anderson Cooper and that she reveals that she “promised”Hillary Clinton that she would run for President in 2036! The future is bright!
    Hugs, Erik

    https://youtu.be/qHhut5nhI8g

    • Thank you so much Erik! To use a cliché, a new day is dawning. I deeply feel President Biden’s commitment to “…defend the truth, defeat the lies … to end this uncivil war” and Amanda Gorman’s inspiration “…love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.” It’s wonderful to have your comments here Erik and thanks for sharing the video. I have a motto that I suspect you would agree with …you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead. Please do continue to join our conversation.
      Hugs Back,
      Heidi
      PS Perhaps we will see her in 2036 – or earlier in congress. She does say she is an activist with poetry as her weapon.
      PSS If you happen to know any pilots 🙂 please tell them that Gutsy Goddess Cecilia Aragon has just put out a new book that is phenomenal.https://laughingatthesky.blog/gutsy-goddess-cecilia-aragon

  13. Talented indeed. How lovely that she was able to steal the show and no one had a problem with it. They were just happy for all that unites us as humans.

    You, too have a talent . . . for drawing out women’s voices.

    Keep up the great work, Heidi.

    • Wow Dana, Thank you so much for your very kind words! As one of our original Gutsy Goddess you’ve lived your life too as a “uniter.” You’ve brought me and others such inspiration. Heartfelt thanks. Your comments are always always appreciated.

  14. Hello from Ireland, I have been totally blown away listening to Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s inauguration. She is everything that is great about America, what a voice for the future and she proves there is always hope no matter how bad things get

    • Top o the morning Anne. Exciting for me to have my blog cross the ocean. I traveled to Ireland many years ago with my then-young son. We loved it: the green rolling hills, delicious food, and lovely people. I agree she is all that is great about us. I loved her words about being brave enough to be (light). She brings such hope and inspiration. Thank you so much for your comment. Please do check out some of our other Gutsy Goddesses. We have at least four from close to your home, who line me, would love to hear from you. Thanks

  15. Wow, Heidi, thanks for posting this. It’s so cool that you had heard of her before the Inauguration; I’m sorry I hadn’t! What an incredibly person! Her poetry speaks so authentically and with such heart and wisdom! Amazing! Thanks, Heidi, for all you do to warm the hearts and bolster the resolve of so many women of all ages!

    • Thanks so much Susan! So glad you took the effort to visit my blog and leave a comment. Amanda Gorman blew me away in 2014 when I saw a video of her as a teen in her first slam poetry contest—One For Whom Food is not Enough. Have you seen it? If not please please do. It’s linked at the top of this post “Inaugural Youth Poet …” When I learned that she would speak at the inauguration I was overjoyed and then she blew me away again. I feel such hope and inspiration from her, and that our country needs that now. I hope you’ll check out some of the other Gutsy Goddesses and Brave Books here too, and please let me know what recommendations you might have.
      Heidi

  16. Thank you for this focus on an amazing human. These times call for not only a powerful voice, but a poet’s clear eye, a compelling presence, and a courageous, compassionate heart. Amanda Gorman provides all of these and more.

  17. I was blown away by Amanda Gorman’s wisdom demonstrated in her poem for the inauguation and now I see she’s had incredible vision and perspective for so long! Thank you for your writing to share her writing with us.

  18. So proud of her and for her. She is absolutely the right person for this time. She is amazing!

    • I was thinking the same thing (so proud of her). I wanted to tell her but I wasn’t sure if I should. Now today with all these heartfelt comments, including yours I’m going to gather them and send them. Thanks for stopping by our blog and giving me inspiration Corrine. I do hope you’ll return and read about other women of courage. Thanks so much!

  19. Yes, they chose right!

  20. After listening to your beautiful inaugural speech I was so inspired. I’ve listened more the once. After that speech I felt like going out into the street and dance.? I can’t wait to hear more from you. ❤️

  21. I’m so impressed by this young woman’s talent. I hope she goes far and continues to have an impact on others, to bring them along. ⭐️

  22. Thanks for your inspiration to be oneself even amidst the doubts of your gifts, while fully knowing you were given these gifts to share with the world😍

  23. Amazing, moving words. Your Super Bowl reading was perfection. I’m looking forward to more.

  24. Thank you for sharing your interview with Amanda here. Amanda is such an old soul in as you say the body of a Gutsy Goddess. I can definitely resonate with her words in this piece. Often times rather than living in the present, I am thinking this can’t be happening to me and am waiting for the other shoe to drop as we say. I’m not sure where this self doubt comes from in women, but I am so happy to see it expressed in beautiful verse of inspiration. I am so please you and Jill Biden have found her so we can all be inspired and benefit from this talented lady. Looking forward to seeing how she will change the world and she will.

    • Greetings Fatima and thank you so much for your thoughtful and wise words.I do think this self doubt is ingrained either in our souls or learned early in life, yet perhaps it is an opportunity to be more, to rise above. I wrote this blog and am writing a memoir because I’ve met so many people who have risen above self doubt, and the difficult stories they carry, to inspire others. I hope you can continue to rise above your own self doubt and blossom from this inspiration. I hope you will return and read about other women of courage and brave books. with love, Heidi

  25. Great oilier – I am so impressed and profoundly touched by Amanda’s creativity and keen insight to capture feeling through words… I look forward to her book, and seeing and hearing her work in the years to come. We need you, Amanda, to help us through these confusing and difficult times by being a voice for the feelings we don’t know how to articulate. Thank you for the hope you bring to the world.

    • Welcome Micelle and thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comment. I love the concept of “being a voice for the feelings we don’t know how to articulate.” Inspirational
      I hope you will return and continue to be part of these conversations with people of courage.
      Heidi

  26. Love you Amanda! Keep writing!

  27. Not only is her poetry beautiful inspiring and a treat to read her ability to change people’s lives to become a leader in self expression she is amazing! Love her! Going to get her books and read them for inspiration every day!

  28. This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you. I didn’t know Amanda’s work until pre-inauguration, but like the rest of the world, I became an instant admirer. Thank you also for this blog, which I shall follow.

    • Welcome Sandy, Heartfelt thanks for reading and following my blog. I do hope you will return and join our conversations about other people of courage and brave books. I’m so glad you found beauty in her words.
      Heidi

  29. What an incredible performer she is! The poetry alone is so creative and powerful in itself, but coupled with the emotive and action-punctuated performance, her work is a knockout. Very fun to see her growth seven years later, in her inauguration poem. She is deservedly celebrated. I hope she’s enjoying her work!

    • Welcome Lei and thanks for your comment on Laughing At The Sky. It is fun and amazing to see her growth. I am blown away not only by her words but how she presents them to the world. You’ve chosen your words well: “Emotive and action punctuated.” I hope you’ll return and continue to join our conversations.
      Heidi

  30. So Glad for you…for me.

  31. Your words inspire even this normally-non-poetry-lover. Looking forward to watching you continue to shine brightly!
    xox
    Pamela Joy
    Hesperus, CO

    • Welcome from CO Pamela! You name brought a smile to my face. My real last name is “Love” so it was fun to read yours.
      I too look forward to watching her continue to shine brightly.
      I hope you will return to this site and always feel welcome to join our conversation.
      with joy and love
      Heidi Love

  32. Beautifully written piece. It captures well our lovely Amanda.
    Love this line of poetry so much:
    “Life has broken me into a million shards But like ocean salt on a coastline I am still so Glorious in my fragmentation”

    • Welcome Vigla and thanks for your comment. I love that line too as you can probably tell. I put it at the top so that everyone would read it. It gives me such a powerful visual. I’m grateful you have joined our conversation and hope you will return.
      Heidi

  33. Thank you. This is wonderful!

  34. Amanda amazes me with her inner beauty and old soul. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  35. This is just the beginning for this amazing young woman, who literally stole the show at the Inauguration. Her words are eloquent and accessible, and she is elegant and real. I’m so looking forward to hearing more from her! Thank you for this post.

    • Thank you Karen for reading the post! I agree that she stole the show, yet standing with others like Kamala Harris and Justice Sonia Sotomayer … made them all rise above what they might have been on their own. Even seeing Amanda’s ring with a bird in the cage reminded me of Maya Angelou. And for me, I felt lifted too. I do hope you will return and share more comments about people of courage and brave books. I do believe and hope we will hear more.
      Heidi

  36. You are fabulous and so inspiring. Thank you!

  37. I’m so thankful for this blog years later when I have learned of Amanda Gorman and listened in awe to her beautiful voice and words.

    • Thank you so much Jessie. I am thankful for for your comment as it touches my heart. Sometimes I don’t really know who the blog might reach but I have a saying, “you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.” Very nice to see you here; I do hope you will return.
      Heidi

  38. Thank you!

  39. Thank you, Thank you Amanda Gorman! You are so talented and inspiring. Listening to your inaugural speech gave me hope in our collective darkness. Listening to you speak at the Big Game validated that our country needs and values You! Thank you for reminding us to see and be the light. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for you! May you continue to be blessed and to continue being a blessing to our wounded nation!

    • Thank you Lisa for sharing your heartfelt thoughts. I loved her line in the inaugural address,
      “We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one … There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
      I hope you will return and continue to be part of this conversation spreading inspiration and courage.
      Heidi

  40. Ms. Gorman’s performance was phenomenal. She makes her words dance when she performs them. I described her speech to my adult daughter and it brought tears to her eyes. I hope she has remembered to watch the video, but it was probably one of the most hopeful emotional reactions she has had for a while. I have had the pleasure of knowing several writers, some published, some not, but that factor matters not to me, their words and the meaning to them, and my friendship with them is what speaks to me. I am definitely a fangirl of Ms. Gorman’s. I would love to speak to her daily and become fast friends. I am fairly terrible at quoting things without copy and pasting them, but when I watched her for me all her words were so meaningful and touching. Like she was lifting out of all our hearts and minds the best things that needed to be voiced, and she did it so beautifully it was radiant. Thank you for sharing your blog with the Pantsuit Nation x Supermajority community. I will be viewing more posts.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments Crystal.
      I loved how her speech bought tears to your daughter’s eyes. Her words were meaningful and touching for me too, especially the way she performs them and gives them more power and beauty and yes, lifting our hearts.
      Heartfelt thanks too for viewing more posts. I do so hope you will continue to join our conversations. As a writer myself I never know who might be reading or listening and it warms my heart when I know of one who is. Thanks.
      Heidi

  41. Thank you for sharing some of Amanda Gorman’s shorter poems here. They are as powerful, heartfelt, and moving as her longer inaugural piece. ✨💜

  42. The power of your poetry and voice move me to tears. I can’t wait to read your book with my granddaughter. Keep writing, keep performing, keep sending strength, love, and hope into the world.

    • That’s so great Cynthia that you will be sharing her next book with your granddaughter—it’s very special that we pass on this wisdom, strength, and hope.
      Thanks too for visiting, I hope you will return and that your time with your granddaughter is filled with love.
      Heidi

  43. Such an inspiration. Thank you Amanda for expressing your emotions and thoughts so well. You are giving so many young people to courage to believe in themselves and move forward.

  44. I am in awe of this young woman. She is so intelligent, powerful, eloquent, and a beautiful soul.

  45. So awesome that you got to interview her and see her brilliance back when! This is particularly sweet in light of what she has accomplished since then!

    • Heartfelt thanks ACNabil. Yes I feel very privileged to have interviewed her years ago and to watch her blossom. I have to say that I was blown away by her performance at the LA slam contest and then again at inauguration.I have no doubt she will continue to surprise and inspire.
      Heidi

  46. After I lost my husband to lung cancer, grief permeated my existence, and most profoundly the idea that I could love again. When you wrote,
    “And just like that I begin to believe again

    That maybe I can find someone

    Who knows how to love the love

    Back into me”

    I could picture the moment and feel the fluttering heart of love awakening in me again. Amanda, a poet can have the most profound impact when her words immediately flash a a personal message that jolts your senses.
    May you go from strength to strength, Amanda. You are simply superb!

    • Lois ~ I lost my husband of 37 years to aggressive prostate cancer just before the pandemic hit, followed by a year of near solitary confinement. Amanda’s poem and your words in response really resonated with me as well ~ both moving and poignant. Thank you!

      • Huge heartfelt hugs Rhonda. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey and also for reaching out to Lois. I hope this period of solitude lifts. I’m glad that Amanda’s poem and Lois response resonated with you.
        I wish you joy, peace, and love.
        Please know you are always welcome here.
        Heidi

    • I am tearing up from your comment Lois. So sorry for your loss, so grateful that you shared it, and so touched that you found inspiration in her powerful words. It is my passion to spread inspiration and love to help other rise above challenges, and it lifts me up so much when I feel it happening. I have a saying: You never know who you may inspire and where it might lead.” Thank you for your inspiration and I do hope you will return and read about other women of courage, and brave books. All my best for continuing to “believe.”
      Heidi

  47. AMANDA GORMAN… you are the word, the light and you offer US a path to enlightenment. I am of your grand (or GREAT) grandmother’s generation but I say to you behalf of all who feel beleaguered … CONTINUE TO SAY OUR PEACE … FOR IT IS OURS.

    • Heartfelt thanks for your comment Carolyn. I too am likely from her grandmother’s generation. At times I feel old tired, like all of the marches and activism I tried in my life may not have had much impact, and then her presence touches my heart and I feel like I rise up.
      I do hope you know you are always welcome on this blog and that you will return and continue to join our conversation.
      Heidi

  48. Wonderful and so inspiring!

  49. Beautiful words from a beautiful soul!

  50. Amanda has changed the world! She has shown young people that it’s cool to be a writer by bringing poetry to the forefront. She is a remarkable poet who also seems to have a gentle heart and soul. She speaks to each of us . Amanda you are the Hero of 2021. Thank you President Biden and staff for sharing this beautiful gift with each of us.💕

  51. You are one beautiful candle lighting up the world, Amanda Gorman!

  52. Dear Amanda Gorman, I first met you through President Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration. I knew I’d found a quality person of great value. The words and thoughts and insights and genuineness and the real person you are touched me. And the words I just read in your post touch me and fill me with strength and value!
    My challenge is, I’ve never have been old before and I don’t even know when it starts. Actually, I don’t think “old” has to ever start. But so many people try to project onto me what “old” means to them and treat me that way. Sometimes, I allow them suck my youth and vitality from me. It gets in the way of my potential as the ageless woman who is in constant growth. Your words instantaneously clear my path and clear the self-doubts I have such as, will I have enough time left to finish all the writing projects I feel passionate about and are important to me? And, will I have enough time left to immerse myself in my painting,too that I haven’t done in years that I love to do?
    I love and can relate to your description, ‘impostor syndrome’ and like how you say that “it’s too easy to start believing the insecurities the world projects onto you, belittling your potential as a woman…” and in my case as a woman who some might consider old. I tell myself, how others feel about age and time is not my problem. It’s how I feel about age and time that’s important and to not let “them” intrude upon my life.
    Also, I like what you say about, “One challenge I’m constantly dealing with is that of self-doubt or ‘impostor syndrome’…” Yes, I know how that feels, too. And you’re so right that “It’s all too easy to start believing the insecurities the world projects onto you, belittling your potential” as a woman, as a person of color, as a young individual…” (Or as an older woman.)… You might inwardly ask yourself “Do I deserve to be here?” or “Is this all just luck?”
    Thank you for sharing who you are with us!
    -Kathryn
    Thank you for sharing just what I needed on this day!!!

    • What a powerful response Kathryn! Your “words” are “ageless”; your “passion” is expanding; your age (being an “older person” offers wisdom … and you deserve more than to be here, you deserve to shine and sparkle and speard love and inspiration as your comment and Amanda’s words do. As the blog author/creator I feel such inspiration when something I’ve created with others like Amanda and other women of courage here, touches others. I believe in my heart that what we focus on expands and that only we choose what we focus on. When I was eleven I survived violent crime and was told I was ruined for life. That was my focus for years and years. Now my focus is on love. That is the answer to your question—LOVE. Thank you so much for your comment. I so hope you will return and read about other women of courage and brave books and spread your inspiration and ageless love.
      Heidi Love

  53. Amanda’s poem, “She Prays for Resurrection” truly resonated for me ~ so beautiful, sublime, and poignant. Thank you for moving and inspiring us!

  54. You are not only an inspiration to young women, but to this woman of 70 who has not yet experienced many of the things about which you so eloquently write.

  55. A beautiful spirit that shines like a lighthouse that beings us safely back to shore. Thank you for your healing words and guidance back to humanity.

  56. We are so lucky to have her in our midst. That she is working with young children to lift them up is an added bonus. Thank you for the article.

    • Not only does she work with children but also now with her latest book for children, and so many parents and grandparents taking notice, it’s like she’s given us tools to lift others up as well. Thank you for your comment Linda, and welcome!
      Heidi

  57. Patricia Middelmann February 12, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Hearing Amanda speak her truth and your interview with her is reassuring and hopeful. Thanks so much for sharing your interview!

  58. When I heard Ms. Gorman read her inaugural poem, my very first response was: She makes words dance.

    • I felt that way too Mary. Did you see her performance as a slam poet in LA (blog link)? The way they were spoken, the power and emphasis of the words, her expressions, and the movements of her hands, each word carefully chosen … it was such a powerful dance. Thanks for your comment. I hope you will continue to join our conversations.

  59. Besides being impressed with Amanda’s thoughtful and moving poem, I was struck by her process. I heard her speak of crafting the poem in an interview and as a writer I appreciated her describing the hard work, research, and deep thinking that went into, The Hills We Climb. Poetry doesn’t just happen, it is carefully constructed, and mindful work. That her job was made more challenging by the events of January 6th and she was able to incorporate this into her poem demonstrates her skill, dedication and resolve to present her best work.

    • Thanks so much Lynne for pointing this out. I may have seen the same interview and was also struck by the depth of her research and the effort for each word, each phrase. As I write my memoir it makes me slow down and put in more time and effort so that the words become concepts, images, power, and wisdom. Grateful for this reminder. You are always welcome, and I hope you return.
      Heidi

  60. “If I can’t hold myself together,
    Then I’ll just hold myself
    For my own sake.”
    Poetry as magical self-empowerment. Keep sharing your goddess spirit and powerful words Ms. Gorman!

  61. So many keeper quotes here. I’m especially memorizing “When you’ve worked long and hard at something, don’t give people the privilege of belittling you.”

    Thank you for that.

  62. As a lettering artist/calligrapher I’ve always been in love with words, written and spoken. Your words never fail to resonate with me. I look forward to reading and hearing your inspiring and thought provoking poetry.

    • Greetings Karen, I love calligraphy. I worked as a Creative Director at an agency for about ten years and would occasionally get to work with calligraphers. Like Amanda they take words and give them beauty. I’m so glad you stop by this site. If you ever do a calligraphy for any of Amanda Gorman’s works, or any of the women of courage here, and would like to add a photo of one of your pieces I’d be honored to place it on the “Words of Wisdom” section of the blog. This section is just beginning with photos my husband and I have taken and famous quotes, but I’m envisioning expanding it to other beautiful displays. I have a saying I like that “you never know who you might inspire and where it might lead.” I hope your calligraphy brings inspiration. Thanks
      Heidi

  63. Absolutely beautiful. A star of hope for a dark time. Love reading Amanda’s work as often as possible!

  64. The words themselves are so simple. Even we use them every day. Yet suchly ordered and arranged, their simplicity casts us a fresh breath… a different consideration. So grateful she leads us down a loving path.

    • So true Gina. I’m wondering if you saw her interview with Anderson Cooper where she talks about her process. Each phrase uses in-depth research and deep thinking. It was interesting how Jan 6 came in the middle of her writing and how she incorporated it into her inaugural theme. I wonder too if you are a writer. Anyway, you are very welcome here and I hope you will continue to join our conversations about love, women of courage, and brave books. Heartfelt thanks for your comment.
      Heidi

  65. Mary Arnold Schwartz February 14, 2021 at 2:13 am

    Thank you for including so much of her poetry and, thank you, her words evoke the healing AMEN so many women whisper in response.

    • Thank you for your eloquent and thoughtful response Mary.It reminds me of whispering angels. Welcome to the blog. I do hope you will return and continue to join our conversation about love, women of courage, words of wisdom, and brave books. I have a saying I often repeat, you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.
      Heidi

  66. Your poetry, your words touch so many highs and lows – like looking through binoculars to see the hearts of others and my own at the same time… keep writing and sharing and “being” the you of your highest dreams!

  67. Thank you for inviting me to post this. I am honored.
    First let me say thank you for your gifted writing about this young genius. As with many, I was mesmerized on Inauguration Day watching and listening to this unique young woman; so unbelievably talented in writing, expressing, believing and then expounding to us… beautiful. As within, so without. She was so inspiring that I wrote this:

    What I Want My Grandchildren to Know

    Today an old woman born into privilege

    She has been told because of fair skin

    Watched a young “skinny” black girl

    Who would have been called colored

    Back in the white girl’s day

    Stand proud and loud as JLo sang out

    Poet laureate at 22, with a crown

    Her words causing sudden wonder

    Floated as golden droplets in the air

    Baptizing the oldest President inaugurated

    The First Woman Vice-President ever

    Reciting her highly expressive thoughts

    To four Presidents and First Ladies

    An impressive task undertaken with

    Strength, wisdom of age beyond her years

    A powerful beacon.

    Mary Helen Cuellar 1-21-2021

    (There are 4 more stanzas but it’s too long to post here plus the 1st verse is the only one that directly speaks of Amanda Gorman (the rest are my experiences since 1948 with racism) but I sent all to my 3 grown grandchildren and they “got” it).

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