Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman leaves Anderson Cooper speechless with ‘transfixing’ pre-performance mantra

Patrick Kelleher
·3-min read

Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman left Anderson Cooper speechless after she revealed the mantra she says before each performance.

Gorman captured the hearts of people across the world when she recited her powerful poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday (20 January).

The first ever National Youth Poet Laureate wowed audiences watching the inauguration with her powerful words, which delivered a message of unity while also touching on the Capitol riots of 6 January.

Speaking to Anderson Cooper on Wednesday night, Gorman said she was “overjoyed” at the response to her poem, saying she was both “grateful and humbled”.

“I came here to do the best with the poem that I could and to just see the support that’s been pouring out, I literally can’t absorb it all, so I’ll be processing it for a while.”

Anderson Cooper was ‘transfixed’ by Amanda Gorman.

In the nine-minute interview, Amanda Gorman revealed she researched the ways in which Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass spoke to a divided country during their lifetimes before writing her own poem.

“I was around halfway through that process and that research when the insurrection happened at the Capitol, and I’m not going to say that that completely derailed the poem because I was not surprised at what happened – I had seen the signs and the symptoms for a while and I was not trying to turn a blind eye to that.

“But what it did is it energised me even more to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope and community and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear.”

Later in the interview, Anderson Cooper asked Amanda Gorman about the mantra she says before every poetry reading she does – and her response left him speechless.

“I understand you have a mantra that you say before every reading you give, can you reveal what that is?” Cooper asked Gorman.

“Certainly, I do it whenever I perform and I definitely did it this time, and I close my eyes and I say: ‘I am the daughter of Black writers, we are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.”

Cooper was left in a stunned silence before replying: “Wow. Um, wow. You’re just, you’re awesome. I’m so transfixed,” before saying that her mother and family must be “so proud” of her.

Gorman shot to global recognition following her stunning poetry reading at Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

Among the many to praise her was Hillary Clinton, who tweeted a photo of herself and her husband Bill Clinton with Gorman and wrote: “Wasn’t Amanda Gorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait.”