Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb

On January 20, 2021, the world tuned in to watch US-President Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony but viewers around the globe were also rewarded with a brilliant display of the power of words: 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in US history, recited her poem The Hill We Climb to a stunned audience everywhere. Both painfully honest and reassuringly optimistic, this 5-minute delivery of her poem sends chills down your spine because it bravely addresses the challenges of our times head-on. It will be hard making a stronger claim this year that poetry is powerful and that bright young people should change the shape of our world – a message your students will need to hear!

NB: While the transcript of the poem is linked to our entry for The Hill We Climb, a print version is scheduled for spring this year.

Keep reading, and keep rocking.


You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it’s no longer democracy, is it? It’s something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism.” – Sam Shepard in The Village Voice, November 17, 2004

Donald Trump has officially left the White House, and President-elect Joseph Robinette Biden and the first female, first African-American, and first Asian-American, vice President-elect Kamala Harris are about to be inaugurated. Breaking tradition, former president and first lady Melania will not be attending the ceremony at the US Capitol, refusing to welcome the 46th president of the United States and his incoming first lady, Jill Biden. To minimize the spread of the coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of American flags, representing the people of America, were placed on the National Mall. Security Measures are high: approximately 25,000 troops of the National Guard, police officers and Feebs firmly confront terrorist threats of the last few days.

The change of government hopefully marks a paradigm shift in US politics: Lies and hateful messages have been spread by the 45th president. America faces challenges from coronavirus to racial inequalities, unemployment, environmental pollution and climate change, healthcare and educational issues, tensions in the transatlantic relations and international alliances that Harrison and Biden need to tackle and aim to overcome. US democracy has been challenged as well and must be restored, renovated and rebuilt by the new administration. What do your pupils think about the current situation in the US? This powerful poetry slam by Prince Ea might fuel your classroom discussion on key issues and future perspectives of the US presidency and politics.

Kind regards and stay safe,