“I am devastated,” confessed the young American poet Amanda Gorman, upon learning that “The Hill We Climbed”, the poem she read in 2021 during Joe Biden’s inauguration and which made her known worldwide, was removed from a school library Miami, at the request of a group of parents, considering it “inappropriate” and part of a repertoire of “progressive indoctrination.”
Collected in a book with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey, the poem was first withdrawn from a Miami-Dade County college library after a complaint from a mother of two students.
A few days later, all the public schools in the town specified that the book was withdrawn from general availability and that only students over the age of 11 will be able to access it.
Upon hearing the news, Gorman issued a statement that she posted on her social media in which she states that she feels “destroyed” and attached a copy of the complaint from the mother of one of the students, a representative of the parent group, in which he labels the poem “progressive indoctrination”.
“I wrote ‘The Hill We Climb’ so that all young people could see themselves reflected in a historic moment. Since then, I have received countless letters and videos from minors who have been inspired to write by him. his own poems,” he said in the text. “Robbing children of the opportunity to find their voice in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and freedom of expression.”
With “The Hill We Climbed”, Gorman captured worldwide attention during Joe Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States because at a time when the assault on the Capitol was still recent, the verses of the young African-American and his way of interpreting them sent a powerful democratic message to the whole world.
“Banning books limits American freedom,” said the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, during a briefing, and did not hesitate to describe the action by Florida schools as “censorship.”
The cancellation of the Gorman poem is the latest in a series of book withdrawals as a result of new laws promoted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which give parents greater decision-making power over the content taught in class and restrict student access to materials with content linked to sex education or gender identity.
On the other hand, it is not the first time that questions have been generated around the work of the 25-year-old poet. In 2021, the Catalan translator of her work was banned for not belonging to a minority. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, the non-binary writer who won the International Booker Prize in 2020, withdrew from a project to translate the poet’s work into Dutch after violent reactions against the publisher in charge of the project, generated by criticism of the activist Dutch cultural Janice Deul for whom the translation should be in the hands of a black specialist like the author.
On that occasion, the debate grew on the networks to the point that Rijneveld, overwhelmed by the situation, gave up taking charge of the translation and, a few days later, responded with the publication of a poem published by The Guardian newspaper in which she exposes in the second person that he is “against all the boxing in of humanity”, and that “he has never been too lazy to get up, to face / all the bullies and fight the boxing with his fists / raised”.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.