#Art + Culture

Amanda Gorman Calls Maya Angelou “Beacon” For Her Life

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Amanda Gorman Talks To Oprah: The poet and activist Amanda Gorman talks to Oprah Winfrey about the women that have inspired her.

In an episode of “The Oprah Conversation”, Amanda Gorman talks to Oprah and credits women such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Oprah Winfrey for her successes. She stated that Angelou’s inauguration poem “On the Pulse of Morning” grounded her. Gorman added that she would listen to it every morning of her senior year in college.

While reading Angelou’s biography “I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings”, she learned about Angelou’s issues with a speech impediment. Gorman also grew up with a speech impediment and stated that being able to connect and relate with Angelou became a “beacon” for her life.

Gorman also credited Toni Morrison for liberating her writing. She spoke about how the novels she wrote in middle school often included white or light-skinned characters. Reading Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” disrupted her views on literature and liberated her to “write stories about my people and my community.”

When Gorman was asked how she managed the fame, attention, appearance requests, and endorsements, she gave credit to Oprah and the advice she gave. : “You gave me a great piece of advice… where you said basically, ‘Be weary of other people’s agendas because they have them.’”

She added that her team lives by that advice and stated that “We always say to ourselves ‘what would Oprah say?’”.

The 23-year-old poet and author Amanda Gorman is known for reciting her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony. The inaugural poem received international acclaim and two of her books achieved best-seller status shortly after. She is the first person to be named the National Youth Poet Laureate. Gorman also became the youngest inaugural poet, and has also been featured on the cover of Time magazine and performed at the Super Bowl.