April is poetry month, and so I would like to celebrate my favorite new poet: Amanda Gorman. (Last year I wrote about Amanda Lovelace, so I must keep the Amanda streak alive. We’ve got to stick together, after all.) I fell in love with Gorman’s poetry – like most of the country – during the 2021 Inauguration. Somehow she manages to use exactly the right words to convey her message, but she also plays with them.
For instance, from the poem "What We Carry":
Words matter, for
Language is an ark.
Language is an art,
An articulate artifact.
Language is a life craft.
Language is a life raft.
There is also a very poignant section called "Fury and Faith" that starts on black pages with white text, and then as Gorman moves through her emotions toward eventual hope, the pages lighten, getting grayer and grayer until they are back to the regular cream color with black text. I’ve seen poets play with the publishing a lot of ways, but that was really moving, especially when combined with her words.
I’ll be honest: this one took me a little bit to get into. The first half of the book didn’t hit me quite as hard as I expected it to, but the back half more than made up for it. So hang in there, and you’ll find what speaks to you.
Historically, I’ve never been the biggest fan of poetry, but I found the trick. Play with it a little and find a poet that speaks to you. Not everyone will, and that’s ok. Once I figured that out, it was smooth sailing.
And if they just happen to be named Amanda, so much the better.