RAMEY, LAWFORD and RIDDELL: Poet Amanda Gorman’s take on love as legacy points to youth’s power to shape future generations

Heather Ramey, Assistant Professor of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University; Heather Lawford, Professor of Psychology at Bishop’s University; and Jessica Riddell, Professor and Jarislowski Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Bishop’s University, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about American national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman and the example she sets for young people wishing to make a lasting impact in their community and beyond.

They write:

“National youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s recitation of “The Hill We Climb,” at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in the United States captured the attention of a nation and people globally. 

Gorman highlighted the power of poets in our current sociopolitical context to speak unique and timely truths, while tapping into larger literary traditions. Some commentators were reminded of the legacy of Black women poets like Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander who delivered inaugural poems respectively at Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s inaugurations. The ring Gorman wore was a tribute to Maya Angelou and a gift from Oprah Winfrey. 

Gorman inspired people of all ages with the notion of seeing and being light. The day after the inauguration two of her books topped Amazon’s bestseller list.

Gorman moved many in a time of geopolitical uncertainty and a pandemic with the power of critical hope, something that combats hollow positivity. In the words of educator and literary theorist Ira Shor, critical hope asks us to “challenge the actual in the name of the possible.””

 Continue reading the full article here.

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