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Letters to the Editor: Amanda Gorman’s poetry renews hope in American democracy

Amanda Gorman raises both palms to the sky while speaking at a lectern with the presidential seal in front of the Capitol
Amanda Gorman recites her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration of President Biden on Jan. 20.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: I am old enough to remember the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on a very cold day in Washington. His eloquent words are seared into history, but even Kennedy was temporarily upstaged by a very elderly Robert Frost.

As Frost approached the podium, the glare from the sun was so bright on his glasses that he could not see the words of the poem he intended for the inauguration and instead recited the poem he knew from memory, “The Gift Outright.” It was an unforgettable moment in the ceremony.

President Biden experienced a similar situation at his inauguration when a young talented poet, Amanda Gorman, read her poem “The Hill We Climb.” She momentarily stole the spotlight and reinforced the belief that democracy will prevail.

Hallelujah!

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Aviva S. Monosson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Thank you for printing Gorman’s poem. She is so deserving of all the accolades that she is receiving.

She is a shining beacon of hope for the future, and she issues a challenge to all of us: “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.”

In an inauguration filled with wonderful moments, her poem was one of the highest points. If one were selecting an example of a poet enhancing her own work by reading it, this one would rank among the best. It and she were spectacular.

As a late-night news host remarked, they have a few years now to decide what poet to select to read at her inauguration.

Gertrude Barden, Porter Ranch

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To the editor: The Earth shook Los Angeles a little during Wednesday’s inauguration. But then Los Angeles, in the form of Amanda Gorman, former youth poet laureate of Los Angeles, shook the Earth.

Marilyn Russell, Culver City

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To the editor: Among so many beauties of the inaugural ceremonies, two stood out for us: Gorman’s poem, and a moment during Lady Gaga’s singing of the national anthem. As she sang “our flag was still there,” she extended her arm toward the Capitol, where indeed our flag still flew.

Two weeks before, that very Capitol had been invaded by an insurrectionist mob incited by a failed president.

What a relief Wednesday was for many of us. But we must find a way to reassure and include those for whom it was not.

Paul Cooley, Culver City


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