Move over, Bernie Sanders: Poet Amanda Gorman is the new meme queen

Amanda Gorman
L.A. poet Amanda Gorman is becoming an viral sensation in the same vein as Sen. Bernie Sanders.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Literary star Amanda Gorman is feeling that red-hot viral synergy.

Perhaps the most 2021 barometer of the inauguration poet’s windfall this week manifested in being given the Bernie Sanders meme treatment. Photoshopped images of the Vermont senator looking cold and casual at the inauguration won the internet this week. And now Gorman, the event’s other breakout star, is getting her own barrage of memes.

“This @reddit photoshop battle of me is making me laugh so hard,” the 22-year-old poet tweeted Thursday, sharing the relaxed image of herself lounging that prompted the meme craze. The Los Angeles native posted some of her favorites on her Instagram Stories.

She became the national youth poet laureate at age 16; six years later, she read her poem at Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ historic swearing-in.

Jan. 20, 2021

As the memes would have it, she’s poised for world domination. And it’s going to be a hot one.

The images, several of which originated on Reddit, included Gorman in her sunny Prada coat hugging Sanders, and countless variations conflating the two memorable visuals from this week. She’s also sitting on top of the world, disguised as “Watchmen’s” Sister Knight, hanging out with William Shakespeare and her idol Maya Angelou, lunching atop a skyscraper, sitting on the Iron Throne, twinning with Dick Tracy and Ronald McDonald, as well belittling former President Trump.


Gorman is riding high from her breakthrough poetry reading at President Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. The youth poet is leaving those who interview her transfixed, making friends in high places, getting job offers and gaining a devoted following on social media (including nearly 3 million on Instagram).

All that love is boosting her book sales too. She announced Thursday that publisher Penguin Random House will be releasing a special edition of her poignant inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb.” And with that, the young author clinched the top three spots on Amazon’s bestsellers list Friday with the hardcovers “The Hill We Climb: Poems,” her children’s book “Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem” and the just-announced special edition.

“I hope you cherish this print as much as the performance xo,” she tweeted.

Fresh from her breakout performance at the inauguration, poet Amanda Gorman bonds with Anderson Cooper over ‘Hamilton’ and their shared speech impediments.

Jan. 21, 2021

She’ll also be featured next week during a Library Foundation of Los Angeles event, “Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters.” The virtual event will be headlined by Kevin Young, the director of Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and poetry editor for the New Yorker.

Here’s more of Gorman’s meme fame: