Flapper Press Poetry Cafe: Middle School Inaugural Poems

By Gillian Kessler:

Amanda Gorman - Photo: visualhunt.com

As the inauguration approached, I could feel the kids' excitement and anticipation grow. I teach eighth grade, and it's been an intense year of new normals. While we have been fortunate enough to be "in person" all year, masks, six feet apart, close contact, and sanitize have been words that have worked their way into our daily vernacular. It's tough out there. But hope was on the horizon!

To prepare for the big event, we watched inaugural poets perform from years past, including Richard Blanco and Maya Angelou. The students watched their poems and then wrote down words and phrases that jumped out at them from inaugural poems of the past. They then were asked to weave those ideas into inaugural poems of their own. I was pretty amazed with what they came up with. And this is before Amanda Gorman blew everyone away with her masterpiece.

Here's to young voices everywhere!

For All That Is Together


8 letters.

3 syllables.

One word.

A mother and daughter walk into the grocery store.

College students get a 5-minute break between classes,

Second grade students share and trade their lunches,

An elderly couple watch the 6pm news.


Two men walk down the street holding hands,

A gospel choir at the church sings hymns with soul,

A family of six stands in the underground, waiting for a subway

A group of friends work at a bar serving drinks.


For all that is together, why do we seem so divided?

We do not prosper in the new day if we did not get along in the old.

We cry for the 400,000 people who died to this virus.

People screaming, rioting at our nation's Capitol.

People screaming, protesting the violence that Blacks have endured.