March 16, 2021

She speaks for Presidents, and Planet Earth… Amanda Gorman and World Poetry Day

Posted by Laura Guertin

Amanda Gorman quickly became a household name after she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the January 20, 2021, inauguration of the 46th President of the United States of America. President Joseph R. Biden was only the fourth president in U.S. history to have a poet read at his inauguration (see the listing of other poets/poems). For those that didn’t tune in for the televised coverage and hear the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States share her work, perhaps they caught Amanda recite “Chorus of the Captains” before the kickoff at Super Bowl LV.

Back in 1999, the United Nations declared March 21st as the date for the annual celebration of World Poetry Day to “recognize the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” Amanda was certainly successful in capturing the attention of all those who listened/read these two poems, reflecting her incredible talent in utilizing words for expression and to bring people together. But even prior to 2021, Amanda was writing and reciting poetry for Planet Earth.

Here, I share two of her poems that you may have missed – “Earthrise” that was a part of the 2018 Climate Reality Project, and “Ode to Our Ocean” for the 2020 World Oceans Day celebration (in collaboration with Atmos, Lonely Whale and Future Earth).


Blog post and text of poem “Earthrise”

Blog post and text of poem “Ode to Our Ocean”

Perhaps share these poems with your student – or, maybe you are now inspired to write some poetry yourself! The AGU Sharing Science program has posted Introducing #RhymeYourResearch (which explains how to participate) and #RhymeYourResearch: Carbon, You’re Key. You may also want to check out examples in the online, peer-reviewed poetry journal Consilience that “explores the spaces where the sciences and the arts meet.” There is an entire Geoscience special issue of Consilience with poetry and art dedicated to earth and space science.

And yes, poetry is for scientists. As Amanda Gorman shares in this TED Talk, poetry is for everyone, and “poetry has never been the language of barriers… It’s always been the language of bridges.”



One of the main objectives of the [World Poetry] Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity. — World Poetry Day | United Nations