Amanda Gorman Recites First-Ever Pre-Super Bowl Poem

For those who like their football with a side of profound free verse.

amanda gorman super bowl poem
(Image credit: Pool)

In Amanda Gorman's second history-making feat in as many months, on Feb. 7 she became the first person ever to recite a poem at the Super Bowl. The groundbreaking moment came just about two weeks after the 22-year-old read another of her works, "The Hill We Climb," at Joe Biden's Jan. 20 presidential swearing-in, making her the youngest inaugural poet to date.

Gorman's part in the Super Bowl was announced at the end of January, a week after her inauguration appearance. The NFL tapped Gorman, who became the nation's first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, to write and perform an original poem in honor of the game's three honorary captains: Los Angeles educator Trimaine Davis, COVID ICU nurse manager Suzie Dorner of Tampa, and Marine veteran James Martin.

"What's most exciting for me isn't just the placement of poetry at the forefront of the most watched U.S. television broadcast, but that this poem will honor three heroes who have served their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. I can't wait for the world to hear the stories of these inspiring people making a difference in trying times," Gorman wrote in an Instagram post ahead of her Super Bowl recitation. "When I was called with the idea of honoring these three amazing change-makers, I was so touched by their altruism."

She also noted that she had been approached about honoring the trio of "warriors" at the event long before she had even been invited to the inauguration, and that her Super Bowl spot was filmed well in advance of the actual game, "following strict Covid protocols," in her hometown of L.A.

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Her powerful poem, titled "Chorus of the Captains," told the stories of Davis, Dorner, and Martin, and honored not only the three Super Bowl captains, but also their peers on the frontlines of the pandemic. Read the full text of her poem here:

Today we honor our three captains
For their actions and impact in
A time of uncertainty and need.
They've taken the lead,
Exceeding all expectations and limitations,
Uplifting their communities and neighbors
As leaders, healers, and educators.

James has felt the wounds of warfare,
But this warrior still shares
His home with at-risk kids.
During COVID he's even lent a hand
Live-streaming football for family and fans.

Trimaine is an educator who works non-stop,
Providing his community with hotspots,
Laptops, and tech workshops,
So his students have all the tools
They need to succeed in life and in school.

Suzie is the ICU nurse manager at a Tampa hospital.
Her chronicles prove that even in tragedy, hope is possible.
She lost her grandmothers to the pandemic,
And fights to save other lives in the ICU battle zone,
Defining the frontline heroes risking their lives for our own.

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 they who every day honor us.

Andrea Park

Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.