2. “I’m so glad you brought up the last line, hope isn’t something that we ask of others, it’s something that we have to demand from ourselves.”

3. “When you’re someone who’s lived a life where certain resources were scarce, you always feel like abundance is forbidden fruit.”

4. “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.”

5. “I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen over the past few weeks and, dare I say, the past few years, but what I really aspire to do in the poem is to be able to use my words to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal.”

6. “There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to see it. There is always light. Only if we are brave enough to be it.”

7. “We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice.”

8. “I am the daughter of Black writers who are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me.”

9. “While we might feel small, separate, and all alone, our people have never been more tightly tethered. The question isn’t if we will weather this unknown, but how we will weather the unknown together.”

10. “You don’t have to be a poet, you don’t have to be a politician or be in the White House to make an impact with your words. We all have this capacity to find solutions for the future.”

11. “For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.”

12. “Every day, we write the future. Together, we sign it. Together, we declare it. We share it. For this truth marches on. Inside each of us.”

13. “When this ends, we’ll smile sweetly, finally seeing. In testing times, we became the best of things.”

14. “Our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful. When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.”

15. “Poetry is always at the pulse of the most dangerous and the most daring questions that a nation, or a world, might face.”

16. “Read children’s books, dance alone to DJ music. Know that this distance will make our hearts grow fonder. ‘From a wave of woes, our world will emerge stronger.’”

17. “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.”

18. “Hear me as a woman. Have me as your sister. On purpled battlefield breaking day, So I might say our victory is just beginning, See me as change, Say I am movement, That I am the year, and I am the era of the women.”

19. “For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude. Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it. So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain. Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.”

20. “We are striving to forge our union with purpose. To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”

21. “This is a long, long, faraway goal, but 2036, I am running for office to be president of the United States.”

22. “If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and changes our children’s birthright.”

23. “One of the most rewarding moments of my career is when I’m speaking to a child who tells me they have the same speech impediment that I had to overcome and that they’re going to keep writing or sharing their voice after hearing my story.”

24. “Poetry, and art in general, means showing up with your best self. And whoever that may be, that in and of itself is beautiful. The more that we can bring our authentic selves, with hope, into the moment the more that moment will show up for us.”

25. “The thing that I learned is that as much as I pull from these topics, there is always a parallel to nature in my poetry.”

26. “I have to interweave my poetry with purpose. For me, that purpose is to help people, and to shed a light on issues that have far too long been in the darkness.”

27. “In everything you write, write something that is brave enough to be hopeful. In everything that you write, write something that is larger than yourself.”

28. “Poetry and language are often at the heartbeat of movements for change.”

29. “Whenever I listen to songs, I rewrite them in my head.”

30. “Poetry is—it’s an art form, but, to me, it’s also a weapon, it’s also an instrument. It’s the ability to make ideas that have been known, felt, and said. And that’s a real, I think, type of duty for the poet.”

31. “Poetry is the lens we use to interrogate the history we stand on and the future we stand for.”

32. “It’s no coincidence that at the base of the Statue of Liberty, there is a poem. Our instinct is to turn to poetry when we’re looking to communicate a spirit that is larger than ourselves.”

33. “We’re living in an important moment in Black art because we’re living in an important moment in Black life.”

34. “Whenever I meet Michelle, I hope that she forgets meeting me because I just want a do-over—I just want to do it right this time, but she always remembers, and she’s always great. And when I hug her, I’m so short my forehead is, like, in her belly button.”

35. “I love Black poets. I love that as a Black girl, I get to participate in that legacy. So that’s Yusef Komunyakaa, Sonia Sanchez, Tracy K. Smith, Phillis Wheatley.”

36. “If we stay silent, you’re not only a traitor to your gender but a traitor to yourself and your own story. So, it’s how can women, particularly women of color, remain true to their truth and their stories, with so many impediments, literal and metaphorical speech.”

37. “Remember being close, and she kind of kept yelling at Barack, ‘Stop hugging people, stop getting close to people,’ and then when I was done, she kind of pushed him out the way and gave me just the biggest, warmest Michelle Obama hug.”

38. “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.”

39. “For Black women, there’s also the politics of respectability—despite our best attempts, we are criticized for never being put together enough; but when we do, we’re too showy.”

40. “For me, I think that socially, we don’t encourage boys to be men, we encourage them to become monsters.”

41. “Thinking about the ways that people are judging me as I write about being judged, and how does that, for all of us, become a title that we kind of carry around and that we wear.”

42. “You know, time’s up, in itself, is poetic. Sure, it means time’s up on men who abuse their power, but on a broader scale, it speaks to a much longer and expansive time that dominated.”

43. “It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.”

44. “You really have to crown yourself with the belief that what I’m about and what I’m here for is way beyond this moment.”

45. “Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.”

46. “I’m learning that ‘No’ is a complete sentence. And I am reminding myself that this isn’t a competition. It’s me following the trajectory of the life I was meant to lead.”

47. “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.”

48. “I’m learning that I am not lightning that strikes once. I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon.”

49. “Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.”

50. “I think we run into issues when our online brands are not rooted in who we are, and I think we need to have explicit discussions with ourselves about who we want to be, what we want to represent, and how we want to express that.”

51. “As a young, Black woman, I notice at times in the mainstream media framing of the ‘me too’ movement you see a white female face or a white male face, and that type of questioning and interrogation needs to happen.”

52. “I saw tens of thousands of women sharing their pain on the internet and I decided to write this piece, ‘Sestina for my Sisters.’ For me, it was a way to play with shape, play with this poetic form with a topic that felt raw and changing in a way that this structure is not.”

53. “My Instagram doesn’t cover my insecurities, my lack of self-confidence, that week I spent crying—there’s a question of whether I should be sharing that online.”

54. “Sestina is a really great pathway for that because you really focus on form and less so about the horrors of feeling the pain of that trauma.”

55. “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.”

56. “Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid.”

57. “It wasn’t until I was named Youth Poet Laureate of L.A. in high school though that I officially began calling myself a poet. I just always loved writing, period.”

58. “To me, unity without a sense of justice, equality, and fairness is just toxic mob mentality.”

59. “Speaking in public as a Black girl is already daunting enough, just coming on stage with my dark skin and my hair and my race—that in itself is inviting a type of people that have not often been welcomed or celebrated in the public sphere.”

60. “Unity that actually moves us toward the future means that we accept our differences—we embrace them and we lean into that diversity.”

61. “I’m a student at Harvard University, and currently work as the United States Youth Poet Laureate, a community organizer, and an activist.”

62. “For a long time, I looked at it as a weakness. Now I really look at it as a strength because going through that process, it made me a writer, for one, because I had to find a form in which I could communicate other than through my mouth, and two, when I was brave enough to try to take those words from the page onto the stage, I brought with me this understanding of the complexity of sound, pronunciation, emphasis.”

63. “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.”

64. “What contributed to my writing early on is how my encouraged it. She kept the TV off because she wanted my siblings and I to be engaged and active. So we made forts, put on plays, musicals, and I wrote like crazy.”

65. “My speech impediment wasn’t a stutter but it was dropping several letters that I just could not say for several years, most specifically the ‘r’ sound.”

66. “I don’t want it to be something that becomes a cage, where to be a successful Black girl, you have to be Amanda Gorman and go to Harvard. I want someone to eventually disrupt the model I have established.”

67. “To hone my voice, I read everything, from books to cereal boxes, three times; once for fun, the second time to learn something new about the writing craft, and the third time was to improve that piece.”

68. “When you have to teach yourself how to say sounds when you have to be highly concerned about pronunciation, it gives you a certain awareness of sonics, of the auditory experience.”

69. “I was writing since I can remember—I just didn’t know it was poetry yet, or that writing could be a career.”

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