April 30, 2021

Spoken Word – Poet Amanda Gorman Reminds Us That Words Matter During National Poetry Month

By Schuyler Rooth, Senior Manager, Content Intelligence

April is National Poetry Month, and as lovers of all things language, we wanted to acknowledge the occasion by revisiting a poem that has stuck with us this year.

Amanda Gorman is, among many other amazing things, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, and author of “The Hill We Climb”, a poem she shared at the 2021 presidential inauguration. Her poem was highly praised and well-received, and incredibly inspirational and inclusive. Words like “we” “us” and “our” emphasize the fact that we are in “this” together.

Members of the Content Intelligence team at Persado looked at this moving piece through the lens of emotions to identify the undertones. The poem emphasizes the notions of challenge, achievement, safety, encouragement, and at times excitement and fascination.

To show exactly how Gorman’s words took her audience on an emotional journey, we dug into a small passage of “The Hill We Climb.”

Reassurance of progress

In the conclusion to her opening stanza, Gorman leverages reassurance in her words as she states: “When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.

This line seeks to remove fear while alluding to progress. In lines that follow, Gorman continues to excite and fascinate her audience with words of hope, while also challenging us to be the change that is needed. “The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

The repetition of “brave enough” followed first by “see it” and then by “be it” makes the audience both witnesses and potential advocates. It’s a double call to action. First, see what is possible. Then, stand up and address the challenges ahead.

Though the opening lines offer reassurance that there has been progress, Gorman balances the praise with some words of encouragement that highlight the work ahead. “Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.”

“The Hill We Climb” has an impressive emotional range. Each line reflects Gorman’s hope and determination for change in the future. No word goes to waste as she captures this truly challenging moment in history.

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