MAYA ANGELOU, Love Liberates

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)
Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

Maya Angelou  was an American poet, writer, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows.  She received dozens of awards and more than fifty honorary degrees.

Maya Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) published with the help of James Baldwin, tells of her life up to the age of seventeen. It brought her international recognition and acclaim. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

If you are viewing this post from email, you’ll likely have to click through to the site to view this wise and touching video presentation.

The photograph – Maya Angelou reading On the Pulse of Morning at the Clinton inauguration 1993 – is courtesy of The William J. Clinton Library and is in the public domain. 

She-Poet, Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman

American She-Poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014), Photo 2013, York College under CC BY-SA 2.0
Maya Angelou (1928-2014)


41kNzUbndlL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_A reading by Maya Angelou yesterday on Poetry Please brought her front and center in my mind.  How could we celebrate Black History Month and not include Maya Angelou? So here she is, not a conventional beauty, but a Beauty and a Refuge … wise and sassy Phenomenal Woman



phenomenal |fəˈnämənəl|
1 very remarkable; extraordinary
2 perceptible by the senses or through immediate experience: the phenomenal world.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

– Maya Angelou

© poem, excerpt from Maya Angelou, The Complete Poetry; photograph “Maya Angelou visits York College, February 4, 2013” by York College and shared under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

That uncaged inspiration … Maya Angelou

AngeloupoemTHAT UNCAGED INSPIRATION, MAYA ANGELOU, has died leaving behind the rich legacy of a well-lived eighty-six years. Her last tweet posted on May 23 was, “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

I particularly appreciated her May 11 tweet, “Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, the family and everyone you love and everyone who loves you.”

Bon voyage dear poet …

A little trivia for my San Francisco Bay Area friends: Dr. Angelou broke new ground here even as a young girl. She was SF’s first black female cable car driver.

The photo of Dr. Angelou is in the public domain

Suggested reading:

Maya Angelou celebrates 80 years of pain and joy – USA