Amanda Gorman is ending her extraordinary year on a hopeful note.
The 23-year-old poet, whose reading of her own “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration made her an international sensation, released a new work Wednesday to mark the end of 2021. “New Day’s Lyric” is a five-stanza, 48-line resolution with themes of struggle and healing known to admirers of “The Hill We Climb” and of her bestselling collection “Call Us What We Carry,” which came out in early December:
“What was cursed, we will cure.
What was plagued, we will prove pure.
Where we tend to argue, we will try to agree,
Those fortunes we forswore, now the future we foresee,
Where we weren’t aware, we’re now awake;
Those moments we missed
Are now these moments we make,
The moments we meet,
And our hearts, once all together beaten,
Now all together beat.”
Poets rarely enjoy the kind of attention Gorman received in 2021, but in an email to The Associated Press she reflected less on her own success than on the state of the country. Gorman wrote that the “chaos and instability” of the past year had made her reject the idea of going “back to normal” and instead fight to “move beyond it.” She mentioned Maya Angelou’s poem “Human Family” and added, “To be a family, a country, doesn’t necessitate that we be the same or agree on everything, only that we continue to try to see the best in each other and move forward into a shared future. Whether we like it or not, we are in this together.”
Gorman offered an alliterative response when asked what inspired “New Day’s Lyric,” telling the AP that she “wanted to write a lyric to honor the hardships, hurt, hope and healing of 2021 while also harkening the potential of 2022.”
“This is such a unique New Year’s Day, because even as we toast our glasses to the future, we still have our heads bowed for what has been lost,” she wrote. “I think one of the most important things the new year reminds us is of that old adage: This too shall pass. You can’t relive the same day twice — meaning every dawn is a new one, and every year an opportunity to step into the light.”