Maya Angelou’s poetry occupies a very special position in her development as a writer (Chow 1). As a child, Angelou went through five years of complete silence after she was raped at the age of seven years old, by a man named, Mr. Freeman. As a result of telling about her traumatic experience, her uncle’s literally kicked the man that raped her to death. Beings she spoke of her traumatic experience and the result of the man dying, she then imagined that her voice had the potential to kill. Thanks to her teacher, Bertha Flowers, at school Angelou started writing poetry as a means of expression of her life events through her poetry (Chow 1). Poetry thus played an essential part in the recovery of her voice, which in turn signaled the success of the healing process (Chow 1).
Maya Angelou’s poetry is tied to her life experiences as a child and an adult. Angelou first started her writing in her thirties. “The pattern emerging from those events is that of a person’s struggle to establish, as Dolly A. McPherson says of Angelou’s autobiographies, “order out of chaos,” a struggle to relate her personal experience to the general condition of African Americans, so that the individual’s chaotic life is given order through the awareness of being related to the communal experience” (Chow 1). Angelou’s poetry also bears out this struggle, which Pricilla Ramsey characterizes as the transformation of “the elements of a stultifying and personal, social, political and historical milieu into a sensual and physical refuge” (Chow 1).
Maya Angelou shares her thoughts on life and death in her poem called “The Lesson”. In this poem, Angelou coveys the message that the more a person endures hardships, the more a person will learn ...
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...ity. Maya Angelou has received numerous honorary degrees and continues to be celebrated for her many contributions (Bracks 135). She is currently a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina (Bracks 135).
Angelou, Maya. The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. New York: Random House Publishing Group. 1994. Print.
Bracks, Lean'tin. African American Alamanac. Canton, MI: Visble Ink Press, 2012. 135-136. Print.
Chow, Balance. "The Poetry Of Angelou." Masterplots II: African American Literature, Revised Edition (2008):1-5. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
"Dust." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2014. Merriam-Webster Online. 3 May. 2014. Web.
Hagen, Lyman. Heart of a Women, Mind of a Writer, and Soul of a Poet. Lanham, MD: Univeristy Press of America, 1997. 126-127. Print.
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