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  #1  
Unread 01-20-2021, 11:37 AM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
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Default Amanda Gorman

I loved the inherit/repair it rhyme in "The Hill We Climb," and I appreciate (whether or not I share it) the optimistic vision that sees the U.S. not as a "broken" nation, but simply an "unfinished" one. After the inaugural poet's performance, I look forward to reading her poem in the paper tomorrow. Like most occasional poetry, it may have smacked more of occasion than of poetry in spots, but I admired it more than I had anticipated.

How did it strike you?
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  #2  
Unread 01-20-2021, 11:47 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris O'Carroll View Post
Like most occasional poetry, it may have smacked more of occasion than of poetry in spots
That's eloquently stated, Chris. I agree with you that if we're going to evaluate such a poem at all, it's appropriate to be generous.

I was confused by her being introduced as "the first national poet laureate." Did I mishear? Did the introducer misspeak? What I imagine to be the case is that she was appointed "poet laureate" of the inauguration, and that that hasn't been done before.
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Unread 01-20-2021, 11:51 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I think she is considered to be the nation's first youth poet laureate.
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  #4  
Unread 01-20-2021, 12:00 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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The general reaction on social media among the poets I follow has been quite positive. I'm thinking, though, that many people loved it because of the occasion. The glorious end to the Trump Administration even made me think for the first time that Jennifer Lopez is a fine singer. When we come down from our high, I suspect that the poem and Jennifer Lopez won't be as impressive. I think the poem might have worked better if it had been a bit shorter. But I'll reserve final judgment until I read it.
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  #5  
Unread 01-20-2021, 12:09 PM
Simon Hunt Simon Hunt is offline
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I heard an NPR piece on Ms. Gorman and was looking forward to hearing her. She seemed in that interview and in her poem to be an impressive person. I watched her in the company of my middle school students, who thought she was amazing. Certainly, her poise and delivery were strikingly strong for such a young person (22). The NPR piece suggested one thing that might've drawn Biden to Gorman--besides her status as the nation's first-ever youth PL--was their shared experience of overcoming a speech impediment: Biden's stutter and Gorman's inability to sound the letter R until quite recently.

As to the poem, I like what Chris said about occasional poetry. And Gorman does seem to come mostly from the "spoken-word" corner of our big tent, which may not be my corner. BUT I did appreciate that she was playing with sounds--alliteration, rhyme, etc.--throughout, and I will read the poem eagerly.

Last edited by Simon Hunt; 01-20-2021 at 02:54 PM.
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  #6  
Unread 01-20-2021, 12:44 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
Here it is. She nailed it.

Definitely a bit of hiphop/rap-style rhyming, definitely echoes of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Rise Up" from Hamilton.

My first impression is that she's the real deal. And a gifted reader with great presence.

This is a very good day.


----

Editing back in to share this...

Here’s Maya Angelou’s inaugural poem “The pulse of the Morning” she read at Clinton's inauguration.

Here’s Robert Frost’ at JFK’s 1961 inauguration. His inaugural poem was entitled, “Dedication” but when the time came to read it he couldn’t see it on the paper due to the wind and sun. So instead, he recited by heart another poem: “The Gift”.

.

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 01-20-2021 at 01:05 PM.
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  #7  
Unread 01-23-2021, 02:41 AM
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin's Avatar
Duncan Gillies MacLaurin Duncan Gillies MacLaurin is offline
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Colin Ward's take.
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  #8  
Unread 01-23-2021, 07:00 AM
Chris O'Carroll Chris O'Carroll is offline
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Colin Ward's "[c]rap lyrics" is a racist pseudo witticism that severely diminishes his credibility as a commentator on any black poet's work.

At least, though, Ward is discussing the issue of whether "The Hill We Climb" is a good or bad poem. That's a discussion worth having. The question is one on which experienced poets and readers can differ intelligently. But I see no point in proclaiming that the piece isn't a poem at all, that it has to be saved to some other file in our minds. Defining poetry is usually a thankless endeavor, and it seems to me there would be a lethal dose of soulless mumbo jumbo in any definition carefully crafted to distinguish "poetry" from "oration" while excluding Gorman's work from the former category.
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Unread 01-23-2021, 12:16 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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We lay down our arms

So we can reach out our arms

To one another.

We seek harm to none and harmony for all.


The double meaning of “arms” and the rhyme “arm(s)/harm/harmony” is brilliant.

I also like the point she makes generally in the poem about America not being perfect but a work in progress.

Added in:

Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate at Summer Academy 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMbCbKR1Lew&t=216s

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Performs At The Forbes Women's Summit | Forbes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZojzZ-BivEQ

Amanda Gorman, Activist and National Youth Poet Laureate | Amanpour and Company
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpR7iELvVrI

Her voice in the inauguration poem was musical with a nice cadence. What struck me the most was how she rarely paused or took a breath between lines or sentences. It kind of reminded me of those YouTube videos that are edited and spliced so that the speaker never once takes a breath. You’ve heard those I’m sure. It doesn't give the listener much time to digest and reflect on the sentence before the next one comes.

It also reminded me of how some clarinet players can do what’s called circular breathing, where they can play long passages without stopping.

PS - In the above videos, Amando does take pauses between sentences.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 01-23-2021 at 03:49 PM.
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  #10  
Unread 01-23-2021, 03:45 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Her words are acting in the world at the end of a series of events that toyed with opening a door to a more murderous ideology than we may ever fully realize. The nation has always been a mess of unlived promises and unexamined violences but something more openly hostile with more freedom of movement was trying to be born. That all just seems to close to find any taste for analyzing the moment. It felt good to me in all senses of the word and it was good in the most important sense.
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