Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.
Amanda Gorman stole the show.
In his piece on the performances at this week’s presidential inauguration, our Culture staff writer Spencer Kornhaber maintained that “the signature art-statement of the day came from a newcomer.”
“It was Gorman’s delivery—flowing with tidal grace, accentuated by symphony-conductor hand motions—that cast a spell in the manner of great music,” he writes.
Her recitation of “The Hill We Climb” is worth rewatching this weekend.
If you’re feeling inspired—and looking for more poems to help you make sense of this moment in American history—keep reading. Below, eight writers and editors from around our newsroom share the poems they’ve been turning to at this juncture.
“PRAISE SONG FOR THE DAY” BY ELIZABETH ALEXANDER
The stitching of hems, the patching of tires, the making of music—“the day” as a banality and “the Day” as an exultation. “Praise Song,” written for Barack Obama’s first inauguration, thrillingly convenes the American quotidian and the American sublime. Notes of the poems I’ve loved sometimes whisper back to me, as I’m going about the business of my own little life: Audre Lorde’s ancient and familiar sorrows, William Butler Yeats’s ceremony of innocence, and, as of Wednesday, Gorman’s a nation that isn’t broken / but simply unfinished. It’s one of Alexander’s lines that has been echoing most loudly, though, in this moment of horror and hope: What if the mightiest word is love?