You are a fine poet, but damn it, I cannot believe the praise you get for I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings when you know that you stole that line from the great black poet, Laurence Dunbar. How could you do that? That is absolute theft. His poem begins, I know how the caged bird feels, alas and another stanza begins, I know why the caged bird sings.
You are celebrated for this poem, and yet you stole it. From a poet who deserve to be better known, as he endured far worse racial prejudice than you did.
Maybe somebody can explain to me how such outright theft is all right.
“Phenomenal Woman” is one of the powerful poems that represents the rise of hope and pride of a woman (especially African-American woman) despite the abuse, torture and neglect she has experienced. Instead of being ashamed or guilty or blaming herself, she has gained the hope and strength, which makes her the “Phenomenal Woman”. This is one self-confident woman with exceptionally strong compelling persona and very high self-esteem, who loves herself in spite of the discrimination and the exploitation from society and people. The poem uses a special and repetitious pattern in each stanza, e.g. the stanza begins with a description of society’s reaction to the woman as they notice her. These reactions are all categorized by wonderment about the vivacious woman, why she is so happy and what others see in her. Ms. Angelou expresses her feeling of a hidden frustration and anger at the society who questions the subject’s self-confidence and strength.
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