Colorado’s poet laureate reflects on poem recited at presidential inauguration

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DENVER (KDVR) — On a historic day full of pomp and circumstance, it was perhaps an unexpected voice that left the biggest impact on Americans who watched the presidential inauguration.

Amanda Gorman, 22, the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, captivated the nation with her nearly 6-minute long poem titled, “The Hill We Climb.”

Bobby LeFebre was among the millions of Americans who were impressed and inspired by the poem.

“We have a strong, Black woman talking about us all. It was beautiful,” he said.

LeFebre would know. He is Colorado’s official poet laureate.

“I’m the eighth poet laureate in Colorado’s history. I’m the youngest and the first person of color,” LeFebre, a Latino, explained.

At least 44 states have official poet laureates. In Colorado, the position is appointed by the governor and the poet laureate serves a 4-year term. The state’s first poet laureate was appointed in 1919.

The job of poet laureate includes the promotion of reading, writing, and an appreciation of poetry, while occasionally giving the world of politics and artistic voice.

“Politics and art, for me, there’s no marriage more beautiful. Poetry is a way we can say things that cannot be expressed any other way,” LeFebre said. “Poets throughout history have sort of served as a benchmark for where we’re at. That’s what we do. We transcend time and space and we share moments with people.”

LeFebre also wrote his own sonnet Haiku as he reflected on the inauguration, reflecting where we are as a country and the work still left to be done:

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