“how we repair it…”: amanda f***ing gorman and how art changes everything.
I AM SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU HAPPY???? i didn’t quite realize how intensely physically relieved and joyful i would feel on this day, but there you go.
i woke up this morning in aotearoa new zealand after the inauguration was wrapped, but my phone was blowing up with texts. not the texts i feared….not THE COUNTRY IS UNDER MARTIAL LAW or EVERYTHING IS A SHITSHOW or WE ARE ALL HIDING IN OUR HOMES AND THE PEOPLE WITH GUNS HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF THE SENATE…..no….and not even shouts of YAY BIDEN or YAY KAMALA, even though that’s all amazing, and historic, and incredible, and relieving, and and,…no.
my phone was blowing up with people saying GO WATCH AMANDA GORMAN. my mom even texted it.
so before i watched anything…i went and saw amanda’s poem. i know amanda from TED and the conference circuit, where she’s been crushing it for years. seeing a poet, a true artist, this young and this on-fucking-fire made my heart EXPLODE. and not just because she’s AN AMANDA.
if you have not watched the performance of her poem, go see it now. then come back to this post, because i have something important to say:
upon seeing this, and upon seeing the internet exploding with joy and tears and exultation at this poet…i had a thought, and i shared it online and i especially wanna share it with you guys, the true art patrons who understand so deeply that art doesn’t just APPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE:
art changes everything.
a life, a day, a relationship, a child.
i’ve seen art change lives, save lives, move mountains.
on days like this, watching moments like this, we remember.
you patrons know more than anybody in the world how much energy, money and support an artist needs to be able to thrust their words and sounds and paints into the world.
for every amanda gorman who’s probably on her way to a lifetime of goodwill and support (i expect she’s going to be contacted by every university, brand & corporation on the globe and will be gracing the cover of time and vogue within weeks….and probably hired by NASA to be the first youth laureate poet to perform On The Moon….) there are a thousand other poets like her struggling to pay rent.
so….to ride on the gorgeous feelings of generosity of fire that you may be feeling in your belly, i am going to exuberantly suggest that you DO SOMETHING WITH THAT FIRE AND SUPPORT SOME SPOKEN POETS ON PATREON BEFORE YOU FORGET.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THE INTERNET WENT FUCKING NUTS ABOUT A POEM??
(actually don’t answer that, especially when i’m in the room 🙂
here’s just two ideas, these are both artists i’m supporting, and i’d love you join me.
i also suggest you ask YOUR social media feeds if they have or know of any other poets or spoken word artists who are crowdfunded. ASK. go now, to your twitters and IGs and facebooks and just say “I WAS SO INSPIRED BY AMANDA GORMAN AND I WANT TO SUPPORT DIRECTLY SUPPORT SOME POETS ON PATREON OR WHEREVER, WHO DO YOU HAVE FOR ME, INTERNET?”.
that raises awareness and adds general goodness to the idea of patronage for ALL poets. feel free to tag me into those posts – esp on twitter – so i can see and share.
and if you already have any other great spoken word artists that you’re supporting, esp if they’re BIPOC, hit the comments with links and suggestions. i know a lot of you support many more artists on patreon than just me, and this is a fantastic moment in time to make some noise for them.
so TELL US. the poets, the songwriters, the artmakers to support in this moment of flux. maybe you ARE one of them.
this is amena brown ….she’s creating poetry, podcasts, and more….
let’s try to get her up to 50 patrons!
and this is muna abdulahi.
if amanda’s poem moved you, dude…..just go to the “about” section of muna’s patreon and watch the poem she delivers. it’s written and performed in the voice of a five-year-old girl whose playground playmates have called her a “terrorist”.
it will give you full goosebumps.
and you will want her to make more poems.
let’s try to get her up to 150 patrons.
also, this might make you cry.
i just posted this on social media too:
“just walked into a coffeeshop here in aotearoa new zealand and everybody behind the counter, not really knowing me but knowing i was american, erupted in spontaneous applause”
IT FEELS LIKE THE WHOLE WORLD IS HAPPY FOR AMERICA.
i know that’s not actually true, but let me believe what i need to for a second.
i’ve been so homesick,
and it’s so hard to watch this all from afar, even if i am in a place that is so safe and so lucky.
it’s a new dawn, people.
it’s a new day.
i hope you’re all breathing a massive sigh of relief and celebrating the end of an error.
here’s amanda’s whole poem…..
THE HILL WE CLIMB
When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
i love you all.
thank you for supporting art.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
1. if you’re a patron, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol. that’s always nice for me to see, so i know who’s reading.
2. see All the Things (over 100 of them) i’ve made so far on patreon:
3. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
4. new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page: http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/
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