A week ago today, Amanda Gorman was not a household name. A week ago she would have been putting the final touches on her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb. She was perhaps practising the recitation, and then meditating, preparing to deliver her words at the Capitol to an audience of millions. Could she have known that she would become the sensation of the inauguration? (Say that like it’s a wrestling introduction: The Poet Laureate, The Woman of Words, The Inauguration SENSSSSS-AYYYYYYY-SHONNNNNN, Amandaaaaaa Gorrrrrrr-mannnnnnn!) Did she imagine that she’d be admired around the world, an instant celebrity on a day that already featured so many celebrities? Impossible. It would have been impossible to predict. And yet, that doesn’t mean she isn’t ready.
Following her performance at the inauguration, Amanda’s social media following exploded. Every media outlet wanted to talk to her. Beyoncé put her on her website. And now, the latest: Amanda has signed with IMG Models to manage her brand and endorsement deals. She now has a literary team and also works with WME. Why? Because everyone wants to do business.
Well, for starters, she has a gift. Her two upcoming books are already on the bestseller list. She has an even bigger writing career ahead of her. But who’s to say writers, who in times past were not considered the most glamourous of artists, can’t be glamourous, can’t wear beautiful clothes? When you consider too that Amanda is a young Black female writer, in a space that for a long time was unwelcoming to young Black female writers, the fact that she’s creating opportunities for herself and thinking about how she can build on them is exciting. At 22 years old, what we heard and read on inauguration day may just be the beginning – and can you f-cking imagine? That was a poem for the ages… and for her it was probably just the prelude to what will be even greater works. And then, of course, when you consider that her work is poetry… traditionally not exactly the most lucrative form of writing…this is also encouraging. Both for Amanda and poetry overall. More poets, more poetry. That’s the legacy she could be writing towards.