Friday, May 28, 2021

Freeform Friday: The Hill We Climb (An Inaugural Poem for the Country) - Amanda Gorman

Summary:  On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration.  Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated a nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe.  Her poem "The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country" can now be cherished in this special edition.  Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.

(Summary from book flap - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  The Hill We Climb was first presented in its entirety at the 46th Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021.  The author's original reading left me tearful and breathless. I loved it so much that I knew I needed to own it, so I snapped up a copy as soon as it came out. 

The book itself is slim but gorgeous, graced with an eloquent foreword by Oprah Winfrey and wrapped in a yellow jacket with red details, undoubtedly symbolic of the author's attire on inauguration day.  However, the message inside is even more stunning. Unlike some forms of poetic verse which can be hard to interpret, the meaning of Ms. Gorman's words are clear and uplifting.  The Hill We Climb is powerfully evocative poetry that acknowledges historic injustice and recent conflict but offers hope and healing to a struggling nation.  We can overcome our challenges, embrace our differences and stand stronger, together.  In her words, 'our nation isn't broken, but simply unfinished.'  

And speaking of 'her words', here are a few of my favorite lines from this book (though I really just loved the whole thing):

  • We've learned that quiet isn't always peace, and the norms and notions of what 'just is' isn't always justice.
  • And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.  We close the divide, because we know to put our future first, we must put first our differences aside
  • If we're to live up to our own time, then victory won't lie in the blade, but in all the promises we've made. That is the promised glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it: because being American is more than a pride we inherit -- it's the past we step into, and how we repair it.
  • We will not be turned around, or interrupted by intimidation, because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
  • In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country, our people, diverse and dutiful. We'll emerge battered but beautiful.
and of course... 

Shakespear once wrote, "though she be but little, she is fierce."  The Hill We Climb evokes a similar feeling -- though small, she packs a mighty punch! I highly recommend owning a copy.

PSST... If you'd like to hear the entire poem before you buy the book, you can watch the original recitation here.  Gahh...it still makes me cry!

My Rating:  5 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader: All clear.

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