Maya Angelou was a writer and poet and a great many other things, including a dancer, actress, screenwriter, teacher and civil rights activist. Her most famous book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a best-selling memoir written by Angelou in 1969.
When Maya Angelou speaks and writes she does it with courage, passion and wise dominion. She uses language with beauty and conviction; it is her tremendous combination of feeling and power that lifts the listener to heights of inspiration and awe.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first in a series of seven books telling the story of Angelou’s life. The first volume tells the story of Maya going to live with her grandma aged three, her experience of racism, rape and trauma, and how kindness and a shared love of literature provided the salvation she needed to heal and grow.
Angelou’s remarkable autobiographical series takes the reader through her complex and fascinating life, filled with struggles, battles, dreams and triumphs.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
- Gather Together in My Name
- Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas
- The Heart of a Women
- All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes
- A Song Flung Up To Heaven
- Mom & Me & Mom
Poetry | Still I Rise
Still I Rise
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.
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?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexines upset you?
Does it come as a suprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
And Still I Rise
And Still I Rise is a collection of 32 poems, including Still I Rise, originally published in 1978.
Another of Angelou’s most popular poems Phenomenal Woman also forms part of this collection. Angelou’s poems explore the themes of race and gender through a lens of strength and resilience.
82 is Hot!
According to Angelou being in your 80s is hot! She encouraged everyone to try and make it to their 80s and to look upon this time in a different way, inspiring all of us to celebrate our hotness.
Maya Angelou aged 82 said:
“82 is hot!
…I thought that the 60s were good, I thought that the 60s were the hottest ever, and then i got into the 70s and what?! what?! I loved the 70s, and I thought, well the 80s is gonna be slowing down.
Not! Oh yes 80s, try to make it, try to make it to 80!”
Books for Kids
Maya Angelou – Little People, BIG DREAMS
Maya Angelou – Little People, BIG DREAMS is a fantastic book to inspire young readers to show strength in the face of adversity.
The book tells the empowering story of Maya Angelou’s life, her courage and passion and inspiring resilience to prejudice and discrimination.
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