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Saturday, January 28, 2023

L.A. poet Amanda Gorman performs at Karen Bass’ inauguration

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Los Angeles native Amanda Gorman performed an original poem at Mayor Karen Bass’ inauguration, echoing her January 2021 star-making turn as the youngest presidential inaugural poet in U.S. history.

Gorman, who turned 24 in March, appeared Sunday at the Microsoft Theater, wowing the crowd from a circular side stage.

Her 3½-minute recitation drew a standing ovation.

“The time of never before is officially past,” Gorman said. “For the world must learn this and learn it fast. While we may be the first, we are far from the last. The way forward isn’t a road we take. The way forward is a road we make.”

Another Los Angeles poet, Sophie Szew, also performed during the ceremony.

In 2014, when she was 16, Gorman was named youth poet laureate of Los Angeles before becoming the first national youth poet laureate in 2017.

Less than four years later, she drew acclaim for her recitation of the original poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration.

That poem — which Gorman finished late into the night on Jan. 6, 2021, after watching pro-Trump insurrectionists storm the U.S. Capitol — captured the anguish and hope of a nation “that isn’t broken / but simply unfinished.”

The performance instantly cast her as a literary and media sensation — less than a month later, she became the first poet to take part in America’s most-watched sporting event, performing as part of Super Bowl LV.

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