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(4 April 1928)

Maya Angelou
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(born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928) an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her first seventeen years. It brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award. She has been awarded over 30 honorary degrees and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her 1971 volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie.

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Quotations

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  • ''There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in black women. It's as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. interview broadcast, Nov. 21, 1973. "A Conversation with Maya Angelou," Conversations with Maya Angelou (1989).
  • The white American man makes the white American woman maybe not superfluous but just a little kind of decoration. Not really important to turning around the wheels of the state. Well the black America...
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author, poet. interview, Nov. 21, 1973. "A Conversation with Maya Angelou," Conversations with Maya Angelou (1989).
  • Strictly speaking, one cannot legislate love, but what one can do is legislate fairness and justice. If legislation does not prohibit our living side by side, sooner or later your child will fall on t...
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American author and performer. As quoted in I Dream a World, by Brian Lanker (1989).
  • ...there is a difference between being convinced and being stubborn. I'm not certain what the difference is, but I do know that if you butt your head against a stone wall long enough, at some point yo...
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author and performer. As quoted in Reel Women, part 4, by Ally Acker (1991). Said in 1979, on giving up her attempt t...
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  • Leiao Gerega (3/3/2014 3:17:00 AM)

    this is the first of her poems I have read. the poem shows appreciation of women in all their qualities, as creatures of beauty and care. thanks Maya

  • Richard Thripp (2/22/2014 11:20:00 PM)

    Maya F. Angelou is glandularly run-down and globularly bloated,

    while her nay-nays are pendulous and her goofy goons are unbolted

    She sleeps on pig fat, milks squirrels, yet is unable to grow trimmer

    as in Ruskin's Queen of the Air, Maya's a floating channel swimmer

    In moonshine, her smooth parts will intermittently glow & glimmer

    In sunshine, her southerly ports and corseted bits show & shimmer

    She's dimmer than David Schwimmer atop a burner set to simmer

  • Wahab Abdul (2/10/2014 1:35:00 PM)

    “Phenomenal Woman” is one of the powerful poems that represents the rise of hope and pride of a woman (especially African-American woman) despite the abuse, torture and neglect she has experienced. Instead of being ashamed or guilty or blaming herself, she has gained the hope and strength, which makes her the “Phenomenal Woman”. This is one self-confident woman with exceptionally strong compelling persona and very high self-esteem, who loves herself in spite of the discrimination and the exploitation from society and people. The poem uses a special and repetitious pattern in each stanza, e.g. the stanza begins with a description of society’s reaction to the woman as they notice her. These reactions are all categorized by wonderment about the vivacious woman, why she is so happy and what others see in her. Ms. Angelou expresses her feeling of a hidden frustration and anger at the society who questions the subject’s self-confidence and strength.

  • Ramesh Rai (1/28/2014 6:35:00 AM)

    God has sent an Angel to us
    to give her affection and love
    with her delightful poem
    Her name is
    The High Respected Maya Angelou
    May God bless her a long
    and joyful life.

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