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Lesson Plans

Classroom activity: Write a New Year poem inspired by Amanda Gorman's 'New Day's Lyric'

January 4, 2022

 

Amanda Gorman ’20, the first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, is pictured in Harvard Yard at Harvard University. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

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Poet Amanda Gorman ended an extraordinary year on a hopeful note with a new poem about the difficulties of 2021 and the promise of a new year. Read and watch her perform her new poem, then try one out yourself to express your feelings on the promise of a new year.

The 23-year-old poet Amanda Gorman, whose reading of her own “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration made her an international sensation, posted a new work and accompanying video Wednesday, December 29, on Instagram to mark the end of 2021. “New Day’s Lyric” is a five-stanza, 48-line resolution with themes of struggle and healing known to admirers of “The Hill We Climb” and of her bestselling collection “Call Us What We Carry,” which came out in early December. Watch Gorman perform the poem and read along here on Instagram. An excerpt is included below. For more on what inspired Gorman’s poem, read this.

“What was cursed, we will cure.

What was plagued, we will prove pure.

Where we tend to argue, we will try to agree,

Those fortunes we forswore, now the future we foresee,

Where we weren’t aware, we’re now awake;

Those moments we missed

Are now these moments we make,

The moments we meet,

And our hearts, once all together beaten,

Now all together beat.”

— Amanda Gorman, “New Day’s Lyric”

Activity

Now, write your own poem reflecting on your feelings about the passing year and expectations for the one just begun. Feel free to play with themes or images from Gorman’s poem in developing your own original work. Include as many lines as needed for your poem.

If you need help getting started, use this simple prompt:

“What was new or different in your life or community in 2021? What was difficult? What was unexpected, and what gave you hope? What do you imagine the new year will look like?”

If students and teacher agree to share work, feel free to send to newshourclassroom@gmail.com. You can also send lines of poems to NewsHour Classroom’s Twitter feed using the hashtag #PBSClassroom2021

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