My Poetry Corner January 2022 features the poem “The Miracle of Morning” from the poetry collection Call Us What We Carry: Poems (Penguin Random House, 2021) by African American poet Amanda Gorman, the youngest presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history. Born in 1998 in Los Angeles, California, she has an older brother and a twin sister. They were all raised by their single mother, a sixth grade English teacher at an inner-city public school. Born prematurely, the twins were diagnosed with a speech and auditory impediment. Some words, particularly those with an “r” sound, were hard for Gorman.
In a December 2021 interview, Gorman told Clint Smith of The Atlantic that it wasn’t until she was six or seven years old that she became aware of her speech impediment. “I was in and out of speech therapy for most of my life,” she said. “And what that did for me was force me to look at language, sounds, cadence, pronunciation actually as an access point of healing and recovery, because I was doing the work of learning English time and time again.”
Gorman started writing children’s stories from about age five. Her interest in poetry began in third grade. She found her voice as a young poet through working with WriteGirl, a Los Angeles based non-profit that assists teen girls to discover the power of their voice through writing. At sixteen years old, she became the 2014 Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. The following year, she published her first book of poems, The One for Whom Food is Not Enough (Urban World LA, 2015).Continue reading