In her short but already momentous career, the 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman has accomplished a stunning series of firsts. At 19, she became the country’s first Youth Poet Laureate. Last month, when she recited her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at President Biden’s inauguration, she became the youngest inaugural poet in American history. And on Sunday, she became the first poet ever to perform for the Super Bowl.
Before the game, Gorman delivered an original poem titled “Chorus of the Captains” in a taped segment. Gorman wrote the poem to celebrate three people who were chosen as honorary captains to take part in the coin toss: Trimaine Davis, a Los Angeles teacher who helped his students get laptops for remote schooling; Suzie Dorner, a nurse in a Tampa who works with Covid-19 patients in an intensive care unit, and James Martin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Pittsburgh who has worked to support veterans, high school athletes and young people in his community.
In a performance before the coin toss, Gorman paid homage to the honorary captains:
Today we honor our three captains
For their actions and impact in
A time of uncertainty and need.
They’ve taken the lead,
Exceeding all expectations and limitations,
Uplifting their communities and neighbors
As leaders, healers, and educators
Ever since she stole the show with a charismatic performance at the inauguration last month, Gorman has seen interest in her work soar. Her publisher announced that it will print three million copies of her upcoming titles, which include her debut poetry collection and a picture book. Barack Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Oprah Winfrey praised her on social media. IMG Models signed Gorman and will represent her for fashion and beauty endorsements.
Appearing at the Super Bowl will likely bring an even larger audience to her work. The N.F.L. contacted Gorman in November, when the league was trying to create a ceremony that would reflect the challenges the country is facing. It decided to open the game by celebrating people who have helped their communities through the pandemic.