Writing 201: Poetry Potluck, Maya Angelou

Writing 201: Poetry Potluck

As most of you know I am now through a week of the Writing 201: Poetry course.  Over the weekend we don’t get assignments to write, however this weekend we were asked to share our favourite poet and or poem.

I have to confess a terrible thing and that is that I gave up literature in school, because I had absolutely no ability to remember poems and one had to learn to recite them.  From this point forwards poetry in the form of picking up a book never seemed to cross my path, it is only really since blogging and reading ‘other’ peoples poetry have I discovered the joy of this wonderful art.

So it made me blush to think that I had absolutely nothing to offer for this assignment, so I have been researching, digging around, seeing what calls to my attention.

I found Maya Angelou.

If you wish to read fully about her, please click here: Maya Angelou

From reading her history she is an utterly amazing woman, having ‘experienced’ the world in many a way that none of us will, certainly not on such a widespread level and accomplished so much in her lifespan.

What draws me to her in general is all of the above, her strength, her creativity, her sasiness and drive to make a difference for the positive in what she believes in.

As quoted by the Wikipedia:

She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou’s major works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

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.

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 back yard.

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 sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

  37 comments for “Writing 201: Poetry Potluck, Maya Angelou

  1. rainydayreflections
    February 22, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    Wow! This poem is powerful. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Like

  2. February 22, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    Excellent choice, looking forward to your poetry in the coming week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. February 22, 2015 at 7:02 PM

    Great poem. I love Maya Angelo’s wise words of “When you know better, you do better.” I have brought them to the surface of so many situations, like a meditation or mantra. She contributed so much to so many lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. February 22, 2015 at 7:05 PM

    I have seen many quotes but also didn’t know her.
    Thanks for introducing her. Very powerful poetry. I can imagine why she was not welcomed there in the past.
    I truly liked it.
    Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Great, glad you liked it, i am quite excited to learn more about her. There is another poet, a Persian one which I hope to share sometime soon too 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. February 22, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    She is my favorite poet and this was a great selection to choose! As I read it for the hundredth time, I could hear her unmistakable voice reciting it in my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:06 AM

      awe i really need to hear her voice as a couple of people have mentioned it now, thank youso much for commenting and popping by, it’s great to get feedback and learn some more x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. February 22, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    I read somewhere that a lot of descendants of slaves are ashamed to admit to their family history, but that they should be proud, because their ancestors were survivors. They did whatever it took to carry on, through horror and humiliation,and they raised their chidren in the best way they could, when they were given that chance.
    Maya Angelou is a credit to her ancestors, and to her own generation.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:07 AM

      Yes I’ve read many books on slavery, some fiction, some not and slavery has been widespread to affect so many different races and still goes on to this day ;-( yes she was a great credit x

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 23, 2015 at 2:46 PM

        We can send speceships to the moon, but wehaven’t even learned to take care of our own species. I know that’s an inane remark, but it makes me seethe.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. February 22, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Why do some schools still make kids remember and recite poems from memory? That is not how you gain an understanding!

    Maya Angelou is great. I hope teachers will let kids read and understand her words without making them a chore! Love the poem you posted. I’ve seen it before, but that doesn’t dull the impact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      Hopefully school regimes have changed now. yes it did put me off which is a greawt shame but here i am now catching up heeh x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. February 22, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Maya Angelou> Still I rise> wonderful poem

    Like

  9. February 22, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    Phenomenenal woman has always been one of my favorite poem. Thanks for sharing one of her poems. Its nice to know that many people who haven’t xome across it before, would have a chance to read it now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      I know its shocking how many years ahve gone by and I have not read any poetry and this year with blogging i have now read so many, but all from the blogging world, its been good to research outside of it x

      Liked by 1 person

  10. February 22, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    Oh I love Maya. Such a forward thinking and intelligent woman. I used to watch Oprah when I was at university and that’s where I discovered her. Did you know that she has recipe books? I have been looking for a copy of her book “Hallelujah! The Welcome Table” for ages. She combines her recipes with the recollections of her life. I find her quite fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      oh i didnt know about the recipe books and apparently her voice is amazing, so I need to find her on you tube or something if this is possible xx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. February 23, 2015 at 1:39 AM

    It was a beautiful selection and am happy that I’m reading it as my weekend is coming to a close and the new week is about to begin. Sometimes things don’t speak to us until later in life, but no matter when you came back to literature Justine it will and has changed your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      thank you and what a lovely thing to say. It has been an enjoyeable journey finding out about her x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jen
    February 23, 2015 at 4:22 AM

    Oh, perfect choice. Thank you for sharing this!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 23, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      thank you it seems everyone knows and loves her already, did you know of her? x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jen
        February 23, 2015 at 6:50 PM

        She is huge here in the States… Huge. I think she may have been at Barack Obama’s inauguration too. A powerful poet. It was great to see here here…!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. February 24, 2015 at 4:30 PM

    Thank you for posting this poem; one of my favourites. I nearly posted a poem I’d written about Maya Angelou today, but it didn’t fit in with the prompt “fingers”. What a coincidence you posted this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 24, 2015 at 8:03 PM

      awe thats a lovely coincidence and made me smile 🙂 I just bought one of her books yesterday so very excited. I shall pop over to yorus to see what you have written. I jsut finished my prose x

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 24, 2015 at 8:36 PM

        I hope you enjoy the book you bought – which one was it? Thanks for popping over – it was lovely to “read” you! Hopefully see you tomorrow? :)x

        Liked by 1 person

        • February 24, 2015 at 9:37 PM

          I got and still I rise 🙂 looking forward to reading it all. Definitely see you tomorrow. I wonder what challenge we will be ser? X

          Liked by 1 person

          • February 24, 2015 at 10:14 PM

            I’ve read that one and I’m ashamed I’ve forgotten what it’s about 😦 it was a few years ago though, so I think I can be forgiven for that, and it was amongst about 5 or 6 others which altogether formed her autobiography. I hope you enjoy it – her writing is inspirational. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge – exciting isn’t it? 🙂

            Like

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