Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

Phenomenal Woman - Poem by Maya Angelou

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,
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Topic(s) of this poem: beautiful


Comments about Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

  • (9/14/2009 3:29:00 AM)


    i like it, u should read my new poem, These Words (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (9/11/2009 1:16:00 AM)


    This is the unnoticed materialistic truth of every day this poem is not noble enough to be no.1. (Report) Reply

  • (9/5/2009 10:53:00 AM)


    everytime i read something written by maya angelou......i feel like it is written for me....there is such an escape in poetry.... (Report) Reply

  • (9/1/2009 10:32:00 AM)


    To Wes Sew.....
    Still I rise is a damn good poem. It tells about the struggle of women and slaves but im sure your arrogant ass didn't think about that... In fact you probably a chauvinist pig who thinks that a womans place is in the kitchen... Well let me tell you something Mr. Woman have just as much of a place in this world as men do. In some cases we are stronger, smarter, faster, and all around better. We can take more abuse than a man ever could. I like this poem.. women are beutiful and every dog of a man knows that they will fall for any piece of tail that will let them get within 30 yard of them.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/27/2009 7:39:00 PM)


    Hallmark? lol. thats crazy. this poem is soo awesome! is it just because you're a man? lol :) (Report) Reply

  • (8/26/2009 1:24:00 PM)


    feeling good GLORY, (Spiritually) , comes by eating the word...
    this is GOOD EATING...
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/25/2009 2:43:00 AM)


    This poem is ok. Its hardly the best poem on here though.

    Although I admit it has that hallmark quality.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/23/2009 10:57:00 PM)


    P.S
    Had a few typos and grammatical problems down there. Don't mind the bad writing. Its late and I had not proofread it well before posting as I am half asleep right now: -)
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/23/2009 10:53:00 PM)


    First to Mr. Dotterer,

    Nice of you to pick on April Hope because she had a well crafted opinion. However it is you who seems to not really understand things.1) She never said she was against judging as an overall practice but that she was against judging poetry on a 'number' scale! 2) she backs up her disagreement with Mr. YM by making a solid argument, you however just insult this young woman.

    You should find something better to do with your time then pick on some one because they had a strong, well founded, well supported opinion! Sounds like an attack on women to me kid in which case you probably shouldn't because you would loose horribly so!

    Now on to my own opinion. First this is one my top poems always and forever. Mya Angelou and subsequently this poem is the reason I fell in love with poetry. She is an amazing woman and this is an amazing poem. I'm not going to get all English student/professor with my reasons why. Its a good poem that is complex and simple, that is specific but universal, that utilizes cliches in original ways. Maya epitomizes simple genius for me. The woman can right sophisticatedly with out sounding like a snob or a prude or forcing you to the dictionary every second word. The language is simple with out dumbing you down either; you know the way most local newspapers do. Besides this is a piece made to be read out loud. It has a very different feel when you read/perform it then when you just read it on paper. Its a piece that needs to move through the air.

    For me there are many purposes of poetry and fighting the cliche so to speak is not one of them. Now it is true that if you wish to survive and make your living as a poet you ought not use cliches for they could be the death of you. However there are bigger goals for the poet and/or the poem some time and cliches are the best way to says things some times. A cliche gets under my skin when the individual using it had not attempted to find something more original(every time some one tells me my name is so 'Unique' I want to smack them with a stupid belt or something) , but if it was the best way to get at what they wanted to say then it had to be said!

    Get off your snoody poetry coaches some time and enjoy a work for what. Any one ever see the 'dead poets society' with Robin Williams? its a great movie. You know what one of my favorite parts is? When he has the boys rip the first few pages out of their poetry books. He tells them we are not going to judge the poetry based on what ever the hell (I don't remember the exact line) but that we are going to feel the poetry. It is that simple some times. Do you feel the poetry? ! Some times when some one comments on something I've written its worth listening to their critique, other times it recognizing that they are not my intended audience and will never feel the piece so fixing it for them wont work. Leave Maya alone, you're probably just jealous and think something like your work is way better then hers. Get over it or get to producing!
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/16/2009 9:01:00 PM)


    'My Clock of time' by ataka royse is another awesome poem. (Report) Reply

  • (8/16/2009 2:49:00 PM)


    Absolutely deep, and thorough. (Report) Reply

  • (8/13/2009 1:40:00 AM)


    April Hope wrote: 'Actually, I quite disagree with Yacov Mitchenko. I find his response to be lacking validity as well as fairly judgmental.

    First of all - to give some sort of 'outline' as to the discussion of happiness is pure arrogance, what audacity! ! The hypocrisy of your statements is blatantly obvious...'

    It can't be obvious to you since you don't seem to know the definition of 'hypocrisy'. 'Hypocrisy' is more than just a generic insult. The word has a meaning.

    A true hypocrite is one that lies about his own beliefs to appear virtuous. This might be a problem for you if we include self-deception. You did declare that Yacov Mitchenko's response was 'judgemental', didn't you? And you did use the word pejoratively, did you not, indicating an evaluation by you that judging is wrong?

    Well then, if you disapprove of judging, how is it that you allow yourself to judge YM?
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/11/2009 11:27:00 PM)


    Actually, I quite disagree with Yacov Mitchenko. I find his response to be lacking validity as well as fairly judgmental.

    First of all - to give some sort of 'outline' as to the discussion of happiness is pure arrogance, what audacity! ! The hypocrisy of your statements is blatantly obvious, you are merely describing a different way to reach a goal. Further, how exactly can you call any poem immoral within an argument about reaching depth within a poem. To take this poem at nothing more than the so-called cliches is similar to declaring an orange too bitter because you would not take the time to peel it.

    It is true that Maya Angelou uses some chiches within this poem. However, when a stanza is approached as a complete thought, a new image is presented. For instance: in the beginning she writes

    'It's in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.'

    Words like 'reach, span, stride, and curl' bring to mind images of mountains, vast open spaces encompassing all your view. This is in direct response to the statement made about the question of where her 'womanly secrets' lie - perhaps to allude to the idea that she hasn't hidden what makes her 'phenomenally woman', but instead displayed it for all to see - impossible to ignore.

    Also, Angelou has done an excellent job using diction to her fullest advantage. Look at the words in this poem: her use of heavy syllables (i.e. lips, hips, curl, arch) followed by full and breathy ones (i.e. swarm, swing, waist, sun) bring to mind the movement of lips while kissing. Interdispersed with statements like 'the ride of her breasts' further call to mind primal sexuality, that unnameable quality of raw femininity that belongs to women alone.

    However she counters this aptly by keeping her statements light and fresh. By calling upon known cliches and using brief descriptions, she keeps the forefront of the poem focused on one of her overall themes - the inherent beauty of woman that can be so obvious yet so mysterious.

    Further, it is important to keep in mind the setting of Maya Angelou's America. Through her writing, Angelou dealt with many issues regarding topics of racism to abuse, womanhood to motherhood, and the essence of family. This is one of the many reasons why she is considered to be a renown black author to this day.

    However, unlike some ethnic authors, Angelou does not blatently call up the images of race. Notice within her poem there is never any comment as to the color of a woman, or the tint of her skin. Though she does not completely leave this history behind - Angelou pays homage to her heritage by echoing the rhythmic beat of the drum in her rhythm, much the same way Shakespeare created and followed his iambic pentameter which has the same rise and fall of many Christian Hymns.

    Overall I do believe that Maya Angelou has done a beautiful job of sculpting language to speak to many without barriers, carry harmonious themes, and channel vague clarity to create a descriptive yet hazy picture of what it is that gives women everywhere that certain quality everyone can see, yet few can name.

    And I do not condone the judgement of poetry upon a numbered scale.
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/11/2009 2:21:00 PM)


    I have to agree with Yacov Mitchenko. This is a very weak poem. (Report) Reply

  • (8/11/2009 7:02:00 AM)


    Phenomenal - both the poem and the coincidence that the day I read poem, I saw the movie 'Beauty shop' and words from this poem are used in the script. (Report) Reply

  • (8/10/2009 7:36:00 PM)


    Yes it was very good I loved it, well who doesnt like a beautiful woman, very clever and creative (Report) Reply

  • (8/9/2009 7:16:00 PM)


    Maya Angelou has been my inspiration since I saw her on sesame street at the age of 6. Since than, as I have grown, her poetry has made an impact in my life. Most of her poetry I was able to relate to, especially this one. She inspired me to become a strong, outspoken woman, and not to be afraid of my own artistic speech. Way da go girl! ! You are an inspiration to all african american woman, and women of all over the world. (Report) Reply

  • (8/7/2009 4:28:00 AM)


    Actually, this is a poor poem, when viewed with the cool, dispassionate professional eye. Anyone with a keen, well-developed English sense can spot cliches in almost every line. And poetry is (among other things) a war against cliches. Notice the expressions: 'reach of my arms', 'fall down on their knees', 'flash of my teeth', 'sun of my smile', 'fire in my eyes'. All cliches. I can understand how the sentiment can appeal to many timid females, but we should never conflate the agreeableness of sentiment with actual craft and artistry. Besides, the sentiment is rather shallow, and it's probably the shallowness that naturally yields the cliches. It has the same kind of appeal as 'Don't worry, Be happy'. A more profound approach would be to fully understand unhappiness and misery, go step by step, unravelling it slowly, tenderly, with care, rather than make some positive, hollow affirmation. When unhappiness is fully understood, you needn't look for 'happiness'. And who knows exactly what 'happiness' means anyway? You begin with the negativities, go into them, rather than escaping from them through cliches. This poem is not only terribly crafted, but is immoral in the sense of the author's not being serious, not digging within and reflecting adequately. Cliches are a reflection or by-product of that immorality. This poem merits no higher than a 4. (Report) Reply

  • (8/4/2009 9:48:00 PM)


    It is an honour to write comment on my hero's work. (Maya Angelou's works) It is a great honour. What can I say about your work but to call it excellent. (Report) Reply

  • (8/4/2009 9:44:00 PM)


    I.t is an honour to write comment on my heros, . Maya Angelou's works. It is a great honour. What can I say about your work but to call it excellent. (Report) Reply



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