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Amanda Gorman’s reading of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden’s inauguration was one of the standout moments of the event.
Now, Gorman says she has her eye on the White House and plans of running for president in 2036.
“I think to make the impossible more proximate, you have to treat it as if it’s in reaching distance,” she said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I’ve always understood the potential of the presidency or political office to both be terrific and also toxic and terrible.”
“I used to think about it in the more traditional sense of, okay, we’re going to do this poetry thing for a little bit, and then you’re going to put the pen down and switch over to politics,” she said. “Being able to talk to people like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, I realized I don’t have to change who I am to be a leader. If anything, those qualities will be what become my strength when I bring them into my field.”
Gorman added, “It’s often language makers who create a rhetoric for movement. They create a new type of dialect in which people can communicate shared dreams even if those shared dreams have yet to be realized.”
Gorman first rose to prominence when she was named the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. She says that it’s essential that her poetry has “purpose.”
“The climate of not only the pandemic but also racial tension in the United States and political tension have added a new layer of responsibility in my own work,” she told Vogue in January. “It’s not enough for me, even in my own life, to just write poetry about red wheelbarrows or a tree, though I can and sometimes I do. I have to interweave my poetry with purpose. For me, that purpose is to help people, and to shed a light on issues that have far too long been in the darkness.