Maya Angelou

(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)

Maya Angelou Quotes

  • ''Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, "I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway."''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author, poet. repr. In Conversations with Maya Angelou (1989). "Maya Angelou: An Interview," (first published Oct. 1974).
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  • ''We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Address, March 1990, Centenary College of Louisiana. New York Times (March 11, 1990).
  • ''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
    Phenomenally.
    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Phenomenal Woman, And Still I Rise (1978).
  • ''For Africa to me ... is more than a glamorous fact. It is a historical truth. No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Quoted in New York Times (April 16, 1972).
  • ''If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning "Good morning" at total strangers.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, vol. 3, ch. 5 (1976). Quoting her mother's advice.
  • ''A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth seems true. A simple morning's greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications.... Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, vol. 3, ch. 5 (1976).
  • ''As far as I knew white women were never lonely, except in books. White men adored them, Black men desired them and Black women worked for them.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author, poet. Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, vol. 3, ch. 1 (1976).
  • ''Oh, the holiness of always being the injured party. The historically oppressed can find not only sanctity but safety in the state of victimization. When access to a better life has been denied often enough, and successfully enough, one can use the rejection as an excuse to cease all efforts. After all, one reckons, "they" don't want me, "they" accept their own mediocrity and refuse my best, "they" don't deserve me.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, vol. 3, ch. 9 (1976).
  • ''You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Still I Rise, And Still I Rise (1978).
  • ''Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.''
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. African American poet, author, educator. "Still I Rise," in Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women, p. 9, Random House (1994).

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Best Poem of Maya Angelou

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you? ...

Read the full of Still I Rise

The Detached

We die,
Welcoming Bluebeards to our darkening closets,
Stranglers to our outstretched necks,
Stranglers, who neither care nor
care to know that
DEATH IS INTERNAL.

We pray,
Savoring sweet the teethed lies,

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