By Tailia Smart Young
As we say goodbye to National Poetry Month, it’s also time for the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, to wrap up her year-long tenure.
TIDAL caught up with the passionate Cali poet at the Cutting Room studio in New York City. It’s the same spot where Mary J. Blige, Big Pun and Digable Planets recorded some of their best work, and it’s a fitting location since the poem Gorman recites has a musical, hip-hop vibe to it.
Although the Harvard student listens to music when she’s writing a new piece or revising an old one, she sticks to instrumentals or songs from movie scores that “tell a story.” (Check out her Writing Playlist or a mix of Chole x Halle, Hans Zimmer and Kendrick Lamar.)
L.A. Poet Laureate Luiz Rodriguez called Gorman “wise beyond her years” and said that her “presence represents the best of our youth.” It’s true, especially because Gorman uses her pen to highlight social injustice. The L.A. native was a bit jet-lagged before the interview, but when it’s time to step up to the mic suddenly the fraternal twin (her sister studies at UCLA) pops up from the studio’s couch and morphs into a ball of energy to perform “Flame.”
Here the 20-year-old talks to us about her creative process, why her speech impediment is a superpower and how former POTUS Barack Obama influenced her decision to run for his old job in the White House.