Amanda Gorman's performance thrills young Chicago poets

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Young poets from the Chicago area are hopeful that Amanda Gorman's podium performance will help other writers get their words and voices heard.

The power of 22-year-old Gorman's words were not a surprise to those in Chicago's spoken word scene.

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Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman summoned images dire and triumphant as she called out to the world "even as we grieved, we grew."

"It was just really awesome to be able to see poetry, to just see how important it is - that it's literally integral to every space, including the presidential office," said Kara Jackson. Like Gorman, she is a previous US Youth Poet Laureate.

"In watching Amanda, I was just hoping that this opens a larger conversation of the necessity of young people's voices and the necessity of investing in our voices," Jackson said.

Jackson and Penelope Alegria are among the alumni of Young Chicago Authors and previous participants is the largest youth poetry festival "Louder Than A Bomb."

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"She's shed a light on poetry and spoken word and hopefully all these organizations that inspire creative writing and performance," Alegria said.

"Yesterday was emblematic of a larger cultural movement that is about ensuring many voices are heard," said Kevin Coval, creative director of Young Chicago Authors.

Coval empowers young people to share their stories in their own words.

"I think the arts and poetry in particular can act as a bridge, as an invitation, into one another's lives that we might learn about each other," he said.

While Young Chicago Authors has gone virtual during the pandemic, the words continue to flow, as does the opportunity for us all to hear the voices of a new generation.
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