(born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928) was 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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Maya Angelou Poems
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, They think I'm telling lies.
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.
The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends
Lying, thinking Last night How to find my soul a home Where water is not thirsty
Touched by an Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness until love leaves its high holy temple
I've got the children to tend The clothes to mend The floor to mop The food to shop
When I was young, I used to Watch behind the curtains As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men. Young men sharp as mustard.
Give me your hand Make room for me to lead and follow
I keep on dying again. Veins collapse, opening like the Small fists of sleeping Children.
Your skin like dawn Mine like musk One paints the beginning
They Went Home
They went home and told their wives, that never once in all their lives, had they known a girl like me, But... They went home.
There are some nights when sleep plays coy, aloof and disdainful. And all the wiles
Million Man March Poem
The night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark, And the walls have been steep.
Beloved, In what other lives or lands Have I known your lips Your Hands
Quotationsmore quotations »
''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).
...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...
''...talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it.''Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author and performer. Black Women Writers at Work, ch. 1, by Claudia Tate (1983).
''I thought if war did not include killing, I'd like to see one every year.''Maya Angelou (b. 1928), African American author and performer. Gather Together in My Name, ch. 1 (1974). On the sense of "festival" in the San Fra...
''Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.''Maya Angelou (b. 1928), U.S. author. Gather Together in My Name, vol. 2, ch. 6 (1974).
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
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,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my ...