Excerpts from the December 2021 conversation are now available here!
Engaging the Senses Foundation is honored to contribute our support to an upcoming conversation between two remarkable poets, thought leaders, and presidential inaugural readers on Thursday, December 9, 6:00 pm (PT). Amanda Gorman—Call Us What We Carry, is presented by Skirball Cultural Center, one of the leading cultural venues in Los Angeles, offering cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and call upon us to help build a more just society, in partnership with Writers Bloc Presents®, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the significance of literature and the written word as an art form, and enriching the general public’s awareness of the contemporary writers and thinkers who have made a significant impact on the cultural and literary landscape.
The online discussion between Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in US history and former first Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S., and Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which is the nation’s largest funder in arts, culture, and humanities in higher education, who read her own original poem, “Praise Song for the Day” for the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, is sure to make for an inspiring and thought-provoking evening.
Amanda Gorman is one of our most valued and visible young poets during an era that has seen inordinate challenges along with a new awareness of the power of the arts to frame and shape public consciousness. Ms. Gorman has become well known for both her poetry and her passionate advocacy for the environment and social justice issues. Appointed the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017 by Urban Word—a program that supports Youth Poets Laureate in more than sixty cities, regions, and states nationally — her performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration received international attention. A special edition of “The Hill We Climb,” published in 2021 debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists. Amanda Gorman appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in February 2021 and was the first poet to grace the cover of Vogue. Her debut picture book, Change Sings, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in September 2021.
Amanda Gorman’s conversation with Dr. Alexander will focus on her upcoming poetry collection, Call Us What We Carry, which will be released in December 2021. “In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. This luminous poetry collection explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, and a major voice for the future.”