If “food is not enough” for Amanda Gorman, then neither are mundane images and ho-hum lines. In Gorman’s poems, swimming pools are filled with “ravenous chlorine,” a dragonfly is a “soft slash of magenta,” and the letter “r” can raise the dead; indeed, she traverses the human-made, natural, and spiritual in this auspicious collection. Our Youth Poet Laureate flexes supple stylistic breadth, too, with meditative lyric poems, incantatory anthems, restless laments, and elegies to L.A.’s shrinking wilds, each driven by a keen ear and a sharper intelligence. We Angelenos may recognize the city of which this poet sings so polyphonically—but we’ve not seen it quite like this before.
—Douglas Kearney, author of "Patter" and "The Black Automaton"
Poet. Activist. Change-Maker
In the era of stage culture, Amanda Gorman's first collection is captivating without performance. She writes as witness and as actor with disquieting awareness and reflection. She pulls on the frayed hems of social justice, girlhood, and the Black self revealing to the reader what is feared the most--that our youth can see the nation's messy intimates. Amanda's first collection does what a youth laureate should--be honest, be vulnerable with language, and confront without being hardened.
—Dr. Ashaki Jackson
Cheekbone & spine, thigh & finger, lung & lip, these poems inhabit the bodies, kitchens, office buildings, churches and streets of Amanda’s Los Angeles. They are human poems, humanity’s poems. They are also celestial, prophetic, shining, and most definitely surviving.
—India Radfar, author of "position and relation and "the desire to meet with the beautiful"
The one for whom food is not enough
“Amanda Gorman draws from deep wells—of ancestors, community, suffering souls, vibrant women, hungry youth, radiant courage, and the un-mined gold of language. Many poets have come before, but no one with the twists, turns and surprises that Amanda brings to the page and in performance. Don’t doubt she’s going to be a major literary figure in this country, if not the world.”
—Luis J. Rodriguez, Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, author “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.”