Poet Amanda Gorman captivated the world when she recited her hope-centric poem, The Hill We Climb, at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration.

On that day she became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history — at the age of 22.

She has since gone on to publish several books of poetry, made the cover of Vogue and TIME, and co-hosted the Met Gala. She has long said that she intends to run for president in 2036.

Amanda describes herself as "a wordsmith and a change-maker". And her poetry speaks to important issues like racism, climate change, feminism, marginalization, and social justice. And throughout her poems are themes of taking action, maintaining hope, and creating the future we wish to inhabit.

She describes what poetry means to her in these two quotes:

“Poetry is the lens we use to interrogate the history we stand on and the future we stand for.”
— Amanda Gorman

“I have to interweave my poetry with purpose. For me, that purpose is to help people, and to shed a light on issues that have far too long been in the darkness.”
—Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman reciting The Hill We Climb in her yellow coat and red headband
Poet Amanda Gorman at the 2021 presidential inauguration / Photo courtesy of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II (CC BY 2.0)

We rounded up Amanda Gorman's best quotes about Light, Hope, Change, Activism, and more:

On Light

“There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
— Amanda Gorman, inauguration poem, The Hill We Climb

“There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.” — Amanda Gorman

“When day comes, we ask ourselves:
Where can we find light
In this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
And the norms and notions of what ‘just is’
Isn’t always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it,
Somehow, we do it.
Somehow, we’ve weathered and witnessed
A nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl, descended from slaves
and raised by a single mother,
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.”
― Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry

“All of us bring light to exciting solutions never tried before
For it is our hope that implores us, at our uncompromising core,
To keep rising up for an earth more than worth fighting for.”

— Amanda Gorman, Earthrise

Read more quotes on activism

“All of us bring light to exciting solutions never tried beforeFor it is our hope that implores us, at our uncompromising core,To keep rising up for an earth more than worth fighting for.” — Amanda Gorman


On Hope

“We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried”

― Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew That even as we hurt, we hoped That even as we tired, we tried — Amanda Gorman quote

“For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.”

— Amanda Gorman

Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it. — Amanda Gorman poem quote

“We do not hope for no reason.
Hope is the reason for itself.”
― Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry

“We do not hope for no reason. Hope is the reason for itself.” — Amanda Gorman Quote


→ Read the best quotes about hope and optimism

On Change

“Change is made of choices,
and choices are made of character.”

— Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry

Change is made of choices, and choices are made of character. — Amanda Gorman

“I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”

— Amanda Gorman, Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

“Hear me as a woman
Have me as your sister
On purpled battlefield breaking day,
So I might say our victory is just beginning,
See me as change,
Say I am movement,
That I am the year
And I am the era
Of the women.”

— Amanda Gorman, Won’t You Be My Sister

“You don't have to be a poet, you don't have to be a politician or be in the White House to make an impact with your words. We all have this capacity to find solutions for the future.”
— Amanda Gorman


On Activism

“That is the promised glade,
The hill we climb, if only we dare it:
Because being American is more than a pride we inherit —
It’s the past we step into, and how we repair it.”

― Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country

“The only way to correctly predict
The future is to pave it,
Is to brave it.”

― Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry

“Know what we’ve fought
Need not be forgot nor for none.
It defines us, binds us as one,
Come over, join this day just begun.
For wherever we come together,
We will forever overcome.”
— Amanda Gorman, New Day’s Lyric
Amanda Gorman's newest poem, in partnership with Instagram

Know what we’ve fought   Need not be forgot nor for none.   It defines us, binds us as one,   Come over, join this day just begun.   For wherever we come together,   We will forever overcome.  — Amanda Gorman

“For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us”
— Amanda Gorman

“Poetry and language are often at the heartbeat of movements for change.”
— Amanda Gorman

Poetry and language are often at the heartbeat of movements for change. — Amanda Gorman


More Quotes From Poet Amanda Gorman

“While we might feel small, separate, and all alone, our people have never been more tightly tethered.
The question’s not if we will weather this unknown, but how we will weather the unknown together.”
— Amanda Gorman, The Miracle of Morning, Call Us What We Carry

“I think sometimes our terror is a great kind of flag to symbolize a type of love or greatness. The fact that I was so afraid, that I knew there was a reason that I was tapping into every well of courage that I had to show up into that space. Because the space needed to be revisited; that space needed to be revamped and it needed to be reconciled with. And I thought one of the few and also most fervent ways we have to do that is with poems.”
— Amanda Gorman, in conversation with Clint Smith for The Atlantic, about the experience of delivering a poem at the Capitol just weeks after the violent uprising

“It's said that ignorance is bliss.
Ignorance is this: a vine that
sneaks up a tree, killing not by
poison, but by blocking out its
light.”

― Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry

“We were told to never use I when writing, because eliminating this voice makes arguments legitimate. But we realize there is nothing that convinces like the self does — our life, our body & its beating, proving its own jagged point. Tell me what is more powerful than the unerased.”
— Amanda Gorman, Call Us What We Carry