Just weeks after she captivated the nation at President Joe Biden's inauguration, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivered a pregame poem for Super Bowl LV — the first time a poet has ever recited their work at the annual event.
Her poem paid tribute to three honorary captains "for their actions and impact in a time of uncertainty and need" throughout COVID-19: U.S. Marine veteran James Martin, educator Trimaine Davis, and Tampa Bay ICU nurse manager Suzie Dorner. Dorner herself helped oversee the coin toss just before kickoff.
Though the historic performance comes so soon after Gorman's famous "The Hill We Climb" at the capital, her appearance at the Super Bowl was actually in the making long before the inauguration. As Gorman wrote on Twitter, "while it might seem like this opportunity must’ve came from my inauguration fame, I’ve actually been talking with the Super Bowl for weeks now, far prior to my invite to the inauguration."
The full text of the poem follows:
"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 hot-spots, 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."