Poet Amanda Gorman on Her 'Breathtaking' Experience at the Inauguration and If She'd Run for President One Day

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Amanda Gorman knows how to captivate an audience. The young poet captured the nation's hearts and minds with her stunning poetry recital during President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, and says the experience was almost indescribable. 

Gorman spoke via video chat with James Corden on Thursday's The Late Late Show, a day after wowing audiences with her moving and inspiring poem "The Hill We Climb," and she opened up about how it came together.

According to Gorman, Dr. Jill Biden saw her recite a poem at an event at the Library of Congress, and it really stuck with her.

"It turns out, I ended up being her first choice... and I basically got this Zoom call at the end of December," Gorman shared. "I knew I'd been on the long list and then the short list, and the shorter list for a while, and I was just keeping my fingers crossed."

"I felt, personally, that I had a very small chance of getting the opportunity, because I was like, 'I'm 22, and I've overcome a speech impediment. Who would want me on stage?' And then they Zoom called me, offered me the opportunity, and I danced around in my socks like a crazy person."

Gorman reflected on the momentous occasion of delivering one of the major addresses at the high-profile ceremony and explained, "It was one of those moments in my life that was beyond words, and that's saying something for me, as a poet."

"I'm the descendant of a slave who was also named Amanda, so looking out and seeing the Lincoln Memorial, looking out and seeing the Washington Monument, seeing the flags laid in remembrance of those lost to COVID, it's a breathtaking moment," Gorman recalled.

"And on the other hand, you have all the human anxieties like 'I'm cold,' and, 'I know Biden is right behind me, how does my hair look?' and, 'My nose is sniffling,' 'Don't trip, don't mess up,'" she continued. "So you kind of have to let go of all of that and let yourself be a vessel for the poem."

The inauguration held an especially meaningful significance considering that exactly two weeks earlier, a violent mob of domestic terrorists and extremists stormed the Capitol building as part of a failed coup attempting to disrupt the electoral vote count.

The event, which struck at the very heart of democracy, lead to five deaths, multiple subsequent arrests and the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump, who was accused of inciting the violent riot.

For Gorman, the unprecedented attack in the Capitol deeply influenced her poem, and the impact her words would have as she spoken them aloud in the hallowed halls that had recently been desecrated.

"As I stood in this place, I was thinking, 'Here is basically a chapel that has been violated,' and the way in which we bring that sagacity, that type of sacredness back into that space is in our actions and in our words. And words is where I operate and where I can make magic happen," she shared. "So it was more so my calling of using that hymn to repurify that space."

After her spotlight-stealing appearance, Gorman said she was overwhelmed by the entire experience, and quickly gravitated toward Lady Gaga, who had belted out the "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the start of the ceremony.

"We were both crying and both weeping and she was so sweet," Gorman said of the pop superstar. "I can't speak to other inaugurations, but despite the six feet distance and the masks, I want to say there was a higher intimacy in this one."

"I had like Barack Obama just standing next to me like, 'You made us proud. You did a good job!'... It was great," she added. "I didn't want to leave! And then secret service was like, 'No really, you gotta go.'"

In the closing moments of the interview, Corden said he could easily picture Gorman herself being sworn in as president in the future, while another young poet who had been inspired by her performance on Wednesday delivered a recital of her own at the ceremony.

When asked if being president was something Gorman might one day be interested in, she quickly said without hesitation, "Oh heck yeah! Plan on it."

For more on Gorman's historic poetic performance, see the video below.

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