General Question

Strauss's avatar

Shall we celebrate the life of Maya Angelou?

Asked by Strauss (20324points) May 28th, 2014

Poet, civil rights worker, university professor, actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs, Maya Angelou has passed at the age of 82. Her best-known work, I think, is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and she wrote and recited a poem for Bill Clinton’s inauguration.

Has she been an influence in your life, and if so, how?

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13 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

A truly remarkable woman. She basically lived out “the color purple” and emerged from the experience a giant of literature and a profound inspiration for us all. It’s damned near unbelievable.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Apparently today is a day for poetry.

When Great Trees Fall

“When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”

cazzie's avatar

My life has been
one great big
joke, a dance
that’s walked a
song that spoke,
I laugh so hard I
almost choke
when I think
about myself.
—Maya Angelou

gailcalled's avatar

Repeating my answer to @cazzie‘s earlier question:

I recently listened to her reading her autobiography,I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Hearing (again) the story of her astonishing life, in her own powerful voice, was an uplifting experience. 10+ hours long…wonderful for an extended road trip.

cookieman's avatar

Yes, we should.

As a child, I saw her (on Sesame Street, I think) and was mesmerized by her voice.

Years later, one if the Marsalis brothers put Why the Caged Bird Sings to music with his side project, Buckshot La Fonque — with her voice weaved into the song.

A sad day to celebrate a great woman.

josie's avatar

I like William Butler Yeats a whole lot better.
She was a very fine human being. An OK writer. I applaud her success.

zenvelo's avatar

She touched my life, and yet I amazed at how many people have said the same thing today.

As a friend of mine said, she is now wild and free and out of any cage…

Bagardbilla's avatar

“You didn’t ask to come to this motherf@&ker and you sure can’t choose how to leave. ‘Cause you don’t know when you’re gonna go. So don’t take this shit serious. You better have some fun and plenty of it. ‘Cause when the shit is old and you ask for a recharge, it’s too late. So all I can say is keep some sunshine on your face.”
Maya Angelou

BiZhen's avatar

There are many other people to consider. I am not familiar with this person. Is there any valid reason why I should be?

gailcalled's avatar

Only you can decide that.

One obit

(CNN)—“A literary voice revered globally for her poetic command and her commitment to civil rights has fallen silent….

Angelou’s legacy is twofold. She leaves behind a body of important artistic work that influenced several generations. But the 86-year-old was praised by those who knew her as a good person, a woman who pushed for justice and education and equality.

In her full life, she wrote staggeringly beautiful poetry. She also wrote a cookbook and was nominated for a Tony. She delivered a poem at a presidential inauguration. In 2010, President Barack Obama named her a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.”

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
cazzie's avatar

@BiZhen If you don’t know her writing, perhaps you could read some of it and decide for yourself. I didn’t like it much when she got all wishy-washy with god-stuff, but she wrote some pretty powerful bits that resonated with me.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)

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