What’s in Amanda Gorman’s Name

You know her titles:

National Youth Poet Laureate. Inaugural poet (youngest ever). Harvard University graduate. Super Bowl show-stopper.

Amanda Gorman: The one with her hand uniquely positioned on the pulse of a nation past, present, and future.

But from a recent interview with Michelle Obama (Time Magazine),1did you know this about her name?

“President Biden has talked about having a stutter. Maya Angelou was mute for several years. I could not say certain sounds, like r, so I would be saying things like poetwee or dolla. My last name is Gorman, and I could not say that really until three years ago. For a long time, I looked at it as a weakness. Now I really look at it as a strength because going through that process, it made me a writer, for one, because I had to find a form in which I could communicate other than through my mouth, and two, when I was brave enough to try to take those words from the page onto the stage, I brought with me this understanding of the complexity of sound, pronunciation, emphasis.”

(Read the rest of her interview with Michelle Obama at Time Magazine, here.)

Amanda Gorman is the first poet to perform at a Super Bowl. Hear her “Chorus of the Captains” below:



1Obama, Michelle. “‘Unity With Purpose.’ Amanda Gorman and Michelle Obama Discuss Art, Identity and Optimism.” Time, February 15/February 22 2021.


(Accessed February 8, 2021).

*Her Voice, Her Story image created by Sakura for The Mudroom.

Nichole Woo
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