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On a Hill


Because he didn’t have speed and didn’t pinpoint well---touching the wrong letter a lot---Semple refrained from texting when he could get away with it. But Boyd had not fully recovered, so this was the best choice. He had to type carefully, though, to avoid becoming frustrated:


Yeah, I’m out here. Wasn’t thinking much about the inauguration and the poetry. U know I don’t be into it like that anymore. The young sista was good, though, like u say. Delivery was good. Message was what it was supposed to be from her angle. Can’t hate. Plus it’s fun to hear the old stuff mixed in with the spoken-word style. She said she had Maya Angelou up there with her. She had the ring depicting the caged bird. She definitely brought some pulse-of-morning flavor on that hill she climbing, speaking about having courage as Maya spoke about having courage. If you like one, you like the other. And u could definitely hear the still-I-rise echoes. She got “rise” in there about four or five times. We actually got more “rise” than “climb.” I think “rise” is better than “climb.”


What about your uncle? I know you thought about him.


Of course. Uncle Jess was mentored by Langston Hughes. Uncle Jess woulda been pointing out “Let America Be America Again.” Langston wrote, “The land that never has been yet---And yet must be.” The nation must be fully in the light is what he was saying. “And yet must be.” Amanda Gorman landed on that. She said be brave enough to see the light and “be it.” That’s a pretty good connection. “Yet must be and be it.” I don’t hear the news running with that story. I sometimes imagine Langston doing a Truman inauguration, u know, that poet-from-your-home-state thing that Kennedy and Clinton did. Missouri in the house. On television, too, because that was the first one. But Langston would have had to think about the protesters and figure it out.

Did you hear anybody else?


Our number 1 poem was up in there. “For My People.” U couldn’t keep it away from an occasion like this. It’s gon get cut a bit, maybe have a two or a three on it. Everybody can’t handle the funk pure. Margaret Walker was mad strong. But all the people stuff. All the everywhere stuff. The history. The rising and taking control. That’s there. And our other number 1 poem was in there, too. Martin up in the mix. When she was winding down and reciting about rising from the west, northeast, midwest, and south, that’s that winding down with freedom ringing in New Hampshire, the Rockies, Mississippi, all that.


So you think that she performed a lot of good things?


Never get mad at the tradition. I just feel a little bit sorry for her.


Sorry?


She going straight to the museum, and I’m not sure that’s the best place for a 22-year-old poet.


She actually may be going to the Super Bowl first.

I heard. Could be good, and I’ll be watching. But I don’t associate such a move with Martin and his times. Hard for me to imagine something like “I Have a Team.”


#TheLanguageLane #AmandaGorman #InaugurationDay #CapitolHill #InauguralPoet