“For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Those are the words from Amanda Gorman’s poem. She is the poet who literally stole the show with her rousing poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Her words were strong, succinct, poignant, and powerful. She delivered them with precision and poise like that of a veteran orator. But Gorman is young. In fact, at the age of 22, Gorman became the youngest poet to recite in any Presidential inaugural.
While her words were powerful, full of emotion, and captured the moment with awe, it wasn’t the only thing about her that captivated viewers across the world. Gorman’s recitation, her speech and voice moved with such grace and confidence, her words flowed like water, yet few would believe that she too like our new President Biden had been dealing with a speech impediment since childhood.
“For, I want to say most of my life up until two or maybe three years ago, I couldn’t say the letter R,” Gorman said. “Even to this day sometimes I struggle with it. Which is difficult when you have a poem in which you say ‘rise’ like five times.”
“It was as recent as college that I was still struggling to say the ‘R’ sound, so one thing I would try to do to train myself to say it, is I would listen to the song ‘Aaron Burr, Sir,’ which is just packed with Rs,” Gorman said. “And I would try to keep up with Leslie Odom Jr. as he’s doing this amazing rap, and I’d say, ‘If I can train myself to do this song, then I can train myself to say this letter.’ So that’s been a huge part of my own speech pathology. It’s why I included it in the inaugural poem.”
For Gorman, her speech impediment turned into a social experiment. While she was under-going speech therapy, many would mistake her accent as