Amanda Gorman’s original poem at the Super Bowl honored pandemic heroes

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I must admit that I don’t actually watch the Super Bowl nor do I watch football. I have been boycotting the sport since before Colin Kaepernick took the knee in honor of Black lives being murdered by police officers. When I found out that most football teams were owned by good ole white boys and the way the mostly Black players were treated, I decided not to give my time or energy to the sport like I did in the 90s. After Colin was blackballed, I knew I had made the right choice. These days I watch tennis and sometimes soccer.

With that being said, our little sis Amanda Gorman, poet extraordinaire, recited an original poem in honor of the heroes of the pandemic in the Super Bowl preshow. Amanda was just as spectacular for the Super Bowl as she was at the Inauguration. Amanda reciting her poem “Chorus of the Captains” was the first time a poem was read at the Super Bowl in the game’s history. Besides making history again, Amanda booked this reading BEFORE her recitation at the Inauguration. Below are more details from PBS:

The poem, titled “Chorus of the Captains,” was a tribute to three people for their contributions during the pandemic: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Marine veteran James Martin.

Gorman didn’t perform on the field but appeared in a taped video message that combined Gorman’s reading with images of Davis, Dorner and Martin. Recited Gorman:

Let us walk with these warriors,
Charge on with these champions,
And carry forth the call of our captains!
We celebrate them by acting
With courage and compassion,
By doing what is right and just.
For while we honor them today,
It is them who every day honor us.

That Gorman brought poetry to the Super Bowl was an almost unthinkable collision of grace and glitz. But if the Super Bowl, an annual rite of excess, was an unlikely platform for a poet, it showed just how much Gorman has seized the nation’s spotlight since the inauguration.

Gorman’s Super Bowl appearance had been planned before the inauguration. She seemed to grasp the unlikeliness of her pre-game reading, the first in Super Bowl history. And with potentially 100 million viewers on the CBS telecast, it made for one very well-attended poetry recital.

“Poetry at the Super Bowl is a feat for art and our country, because it means we’re thinking imaginatively about human connection even when we feel siloed,” Gorman said Sunday on Twitter. “I’ll honor three heroes who exemplify the best of this effort. Here’s to them, to poetry and to a Super Bowl like no other.”

[From PBS]

I can’t say enough how proud I am of Amanda. She is definitely a graceful young lady and very much a beautiful representation of Gen Z. Amanda’s poem, “Chorus of the Captains,” was moving and heartfelt and I love how she highlighted people around the country for their efforts the last year. Like I said I never watch the Super Bowl unless I am watching someone I want to see perform in the Halftime Show like Shakira last year, so I am not sure how Amanda’s appearance flowed within the program. With that being said, I am glad Amanda was able to elevate the sport with her wordsmithing. Despite Amanda’s and a slew of other black folks performing at Super Bowl LV, I believe that the NFL has a long way to go to clean up its tarnished image as it concerns Black people, their view on Black lives and their players’ activism. They’re pledging to put $250 million toward combating systemic racism, but I am just not interested in the sport any longer.

Despite all of this, I am happy when people like Amanda and H.E.R are able to bring their brilliance to such a huge platform. As for Amanda, I do hope that her star continues to rise and that she continues to elevate the art of poetry, making it cool again. What I love about Amanda is not just her ability to make words flow like a powerful river, but how gracious and strong she is when she is being interviewed. Amanda shows how intelligent she is without ever flexing and I am here for that. I honestly believe we are seeing the creation of the Maya Angelou of a new generation, Amanda’s poetry definitely doesn’t sound like those old dead white dudes’ poetry we study in school.

Here’s the performance in case you missed it:

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8 Responses to “Amanda Gorman’s original poem at the Super Bowl honored pandemic heroes”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    One of the things I love about Amanda Gorman – poise, grace, and talent aside – is that I think she is making poetry relevant for so many again. Poetry can be powerful and moving and alive and I think she brings that out and is going to make many people poetry fans again, or at least fans of her poetry.

    We were watching it live and I did think her poem flowed well with the program. I thought the pre-game lineup was one of the better lineups in years.

    • BW says:

      I love poetry, and I’m thrilled that Amanda is making it cool again. I never had her poise when I was her age. I’m in awe. Plus, I think she is absolutely gorgeous and I love her fashion choices and hairdos.

    • Noodle says:

      Yes! One of my friends is from Finland, and she posted about “Runeberg” who is Finland’s official poet the other day in honor of Runeberg’s Day. How beautiful when we live in a time when poetry and poets are celebrated. I am inspired by Amanda and hope her words continue to empower and celebrate and challenge all of us.

      When I taught high school my students LOVED our unit in poetry (maybe not some of the examples we HAD to read for the tests), but modern poetry and Slam Poetry. We talked a lot about music and how it speaks to others, and how poetry is really just spoken music. Poetry speaks to our youth, perhaps in ways it doesn’t to many adults. And I love it.

  2. Harper says:

    A star was born on Inauguration Day. I hope she continues to pop up at major events because putting poetry in the same limelight as sports and pop music and politics is a great thing.

    • Noodle says:

      @harper, and she has such a solid head on her shoulders. I think we are witnessing greatness. If anything changes in this world in terms of humanism and environmentalism, it will likely be because of the youth. What a wonderful role model we have in her, Malala, Greta, and so many others.

  3. Case says:

    “They’re pledging to put $250 million toward combating systemic racism, but I am just not interested in the sport any longer.”

    They seem to think we’ll forget how they blacklisted Kaepernick and told other players if they wanted to protest they could stay in their locker room or their team would be fined. I think the NFL does a lot of great charity work (and damn, they produce so many moving commercials and presentations that always make me cry), but they’re problematic as hell as of VERY recently. They need to address that.

    On a lighter note, Amanda is a revelation. She’s just such a bright light and I can’t wait to watch as her career grows. Poetry matters and I’m glad she’s helping people realize that again.

  4. Ariel says:

    I watched 20 minutes of pre game crap to make sure I saw the poem reading. And it was great.
    However, the NFL is stilling denying kaepernick a job in their league. Additionally they are trying to get around paying for incredibly common football repercussion – long term head injuries. And the funds distribution of that program is slanted racist per a recent report.
    Evil rich white men doing evil rich white men crap.

  5. Amanda is a song in my heart. May she live long, prosper, and help us all grow to be our best.