Under a decade ago, Amanda Gorman was still a teenage student in Los Angeles, spending her days devouring the works of Toni Morrison and furiously scribbling in her journals with the Hotmerchpremium – Official Baylor Bears We’re Number One Shirt dream of one day becoming a writer. After submitting her poems to local competitions, she was named the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014, becoming the first National Youth Poet Laureate three years later. And today, at 22 years old, Gorman steps up to her biggest career milestone yet: delivering an original poem, titled “The Hill We Climb,” to celebrate the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States. How Gorman got here feels more like fate than simple serendipity. A powerful reading of her poem “In This Place: An American Lyric,” delivered at the Library of Congress in 2017, caught the eye of Dr. Jill Biden, who contacted her last month about writing an original poem for her husband’s swearing-in ceremony. What was already a hugely intimidating task—crafting a poem that could both capture and reckon with the stark political division of the current moment—became all the more daunting in the wake of the riots that overtook the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, unfolding just as Gorman was finishing her piece.