“In This Place (An American Lyric)” features a stirring choral recitation of a protest-themed poem by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. This short film, released in conjunction with #NationalPoetryMonth, features 16 Massachusetts poets hailing from across the state. This video, created in collaboration with videographer Paula Champagne, also marks Mass Poetry’s contribution to a national collaboration by the Poetry Coalition—an alliance of more than 25 independent poetry organizations across the United States—to explore the theme of #poetryandprotest through the Audrea Lorde line “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing.”
Our video project was meant to premier to an audience of 750 guests at Evening of Inspired Leaders, Mass Poetry’s biggest fundraising event of the year. The event, like so many others, was canceled due to the pandemic. Not only did that leave us in a financially precarious situation (along with so many arts nonprofits), the cancellation also meant we couldn’t give this video its big moment.
But we know that everyone needs #somegoodnews right now. We believe this video’s powerful message of hope, of the power of art in times of crisis, and of the connections we can foster by sharing our stories—well, all of that is too important to keep to ourselves for months until we can reschedule our event.
Please enjoy, share, and know we’re listening—ready to hear the new stories we’re writing about ourselves and our country.
Running time: 3 minutes
Amanda Gorman is a published author and the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America. She’s spoken around the country from the UN to the Library of Congress, alongside the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hillary Clinton Her first poetry book, “The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough”, was published in 2015 by Pemanship Books. She is Founder and Executive Director of One Pen One Page, which promotes literacy through free creative writing programming for underserved youth. She is a Harvard junior in the top of her class, and writes for the New York Times student newsletter The Edit.