Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
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Comments about this poem (I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou )

  • Rookie *Trusting You* (11/18/2008 11:29:00 PM)

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    great lines. I like this one a lot too. you are very talented. good job.
    Crystal (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Don Maker (10/23/2008 11:48:00 AM)

    While paying homage to another poet's work is certainly acceptable, I feel that this iteration is just too much of a copy of Paul Lawrence Dunbar's 'Sympathy' to be acceptable. Not only is it unoriginal, it has none of the emotional power of 'Sympathy', probably because Dunbar actually did know what it was to be a slave, whereas Angelou could only imagine. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 37 Points Mencita Monoï Angel Carmen (4/15/2008 1:50:00 AM)

    its like us.... we are free...but in a way still caged....and we dont now hoe to escape... its a plead for absolute freedom (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 25 Points Oyekake Satty (o. S.) Joshua (4/6/2008 3:23:00 PM)

    These are moving lyrics! My heart and my tears could not keep silent as read them. Your heart is indeed touched by the passion that flows only from God.

    Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie christel leago (3/9/2008 8:32:00 AM)

    This poem reminds me of 'Hope is the thing with feathers' by Emily Dickinson. The caged bird that sings, sings of hope.

    No matter what reason Maya had for writing this poem, I interpret it differently for my experience. To me its about being free but from my own self imposed cage my cage being depression or anxiety. I never had the experiences that Mayo Angelou had, but the poem touches that caged part of me that longs to be free. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kat V (3/7/2008 12:21:00 PM)

    Cass K-
    She credits him as being one of her sources of inspiration for ALL of her writing and style in her autobiography, p.14, Bantam Books, the 1993 reissue. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kat V (3/7/2008 9:20:00 AM)

    This poem is, ultimately, about her experiences as a child, as well as oppression in her surroundings. Obviously, having grown up in rural Stamps, Arkansas, Angelou knew something about the racial striations surrounding her. If you read her autobiography, also entitled I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, one of the main themes IS racial segregation, as well as sexism and isolation, and its effects on her life. These factors shaped who she is as a person, as well as a writer. To not understand this concept is to not see the full picture of her writing's beauty. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Cass K (2/18/2008 8:52:00 PM)

    i really admire maya, i think she is a fantastic writer and has accomplished a lot. im just curious though, im doing a poetry report right now and one of the poems i chose was 'sympathy' by Paul Laurence Dunbar-this is another great poem, and reminds me a lot of maya's i know why the caged bird sings.

    in fact, the end of dunbar's poem goes 'I know why the caged bird sings! '

    im sure that maya was probably inspired by 'sympathy' to write this one of her most famous poems.....but does anybody know if she accredited Paul Laurence Dunbar for his original work? wouldn't that be the thing to do? just wonderin.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Mo Mox (12/20/2007 7:38:00 PM)

    F Green;

    This poem, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is not about 'oppression in the freest country in history, ' as you said in your comment.

    It is about being raped by her mother's boyfriend when she was a child. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Berni B (12/4/2007 7:10:00 PM)

    If you liked this poem, check out the poem 'Sympathy' by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The first comment on the comment page (F Green) is unnecessarily cynical. A poem doesn't always show all of the world, just one aspect. Accept it and get over yourself.

    And remember that the US once did support Black Slavery and Jim Crow laws (do some research - Maya Angelou grew up in the South when Jim Crow laws were in effect. She knows where-of she speaks) .

    Is F Green a modern-day Holden Caulfield, worried about everybody else's phoniness? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie F Green (11/21/2007 6:14:00 PM)

    Phony metaphor. Well, I’ve known some quite happy and complacent caged birds in my time, and the short, unhappy lives of some free birds is not necessarily all that it is cracked up to be. It’s a phony metaphor for the phony “oppression” that some people are constantly complaining about in the freest, most opportunity rich country in history. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kristy Artmann (11/14/2007 10:34:00 AM)

    if you love the poem, read the book! It's great! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Tom J. Mariani (10/7/2007 4:29:00 PM)

    Who is going to correct 'win' to 'wind' in the second line? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Gail Deemer (7/25/2007 3:17:00 PM)

    I was introduced to Maya in a college literature class, hadn't heard of her until then. She touched the soul of one who'd been caged and then set free. I, too, know why the caged bird sings and thank her for putting into words what so many abused people don't know how or can't express.
    I, too, saw the typos but thought of the message and overlooked them. That can be fixed by a few keystrokes, the bars around a caged heart? Not so easily. Her words have inspired yet another poem for me, her courage (I also read her book) has kept my heart from giving up when all seemed lost. The world would've been so much less had she not written down what was in her heart. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Elizabeth Benedict (7/15/2007 3:31:00 PM)

    I have often felt like that caged bird...yet I just keep right on hoping, though, that with every day that comes, I will have the courage to 'open my mouth and sing.' (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Cheryl Lynn Moyer-peele (6/15/2007 10:04:00 AM)

    Maya -

    There's a typo on line 2 - win?
    I would like permission to post this poem on my blog:

    I am trying to raise the universal consciousness on this social crisis and I feel this poem has a very powerful voice.

    Thank you -

    Cheryl Lynn Moyer (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Yaritza Florencio (5/18/2007 8:15:00 AM)

    Her poems are so captivating they show you things that sometimes you cant understand and they make you frustrated but still you keep on coming mesmarized by how beutiful the poems are (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 29 Points Robert Howard (12/13/2006 9:45:00 AM)

    One of the greatest of all American poems. Is has the sweep and universal vision of the best of Whitman. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Hamdi Ibrahim (11/16/2006 4:45:00 PM) speachless the poem speaks for it's of the most beautifulest meaningful poems i've read just wish i could come up with something so enchanting (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Julie Andrews (11/13/2006 7:47:00 AM)

    Amazing and enchanting! Such awesome adjectives...I'm speechless! ! (Report) Reply

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