When Amanda Gorman was named the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States in 2017, I was thrilled! It's always wonderful to see poetry lifted up, especially with awards, but when it's a YOUTH Poet Laureate, well, that makes me VERY happy! I immediately tried to find out if she had published any books (she hadn't at that time) and if she might be available to be part of presentations I was planning-- including the Poetry Round Up at the Texas Library Association conference. Sadly, that never happened and I'm pretty sure it won't be happening now! ;-)
Wow, right? I just love that a young person had this magical moment, a young Black woman lifted us all up and challenged us to be brave enough to see the light and BE the light!
I spent much of the day looking for the TEXT of the poem and finally found it available-- in several forms. I'm still not sure exactly how she intends the poem to look (in terms of spacing), but this is one version:
A picture book version of her now-famous poem illustrated by Loren Long was set to be published in September, but just yesterday Penguin Random House revised their website to indicate it would be published in April instead, possibly NOT as a picture book. We'll see.
Meanwhile, she does have a picture book illustrated by Loren Long due out in September entitled Change Sings: A Children's Anthem that is a call to activism.
You can read more about Amanda, her life, her struggle with a speech impediment, and her activist views here and here. In addition, TONS of lesson plans have popped up online with ways to share and teach Amanda's powerful poem. I recommend beginning by watching Amanda perform it (multiple times) and soaking it up, because there is nothing quite like hearing the poet read her own work out loud-- and when it becomes a historic moment too, well, that's the power of poetry!
See you over at poet Laura Shovan's blog for our Poetry Friday collective!