National Poetry Month: Spotlight on Maya Angelou
Women like Maya Angelou paved the way for writers, artists, and women in general.
April is National Poetry Month, and as it follows Women’s History Month, it’s only fitting that we pause to honor the role of women in poetry. While there are many incredible female poets in our country’s past, Maya Angelou is one poet who has truly influenced and changed the lives of just about everyone living today, as well as having paved the way for women for decades past.
Dr. Angelou, whose real name was Marguerite Annie Johnson, had a devastating early life. Her early life included a turmoil-filled home life and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend, who was subsequently murdered, an event that made Angelou go mute for five years. Her history of accomplishments includes arts school, being the first African-American San Francisco cable car conductor, participating in the Civil Rights movement, and inspiring hundreds of modern day artists. She was also the first African American woman to write a screenplay that was filmed, Georgia, Georgia in 1972.
Dr. Angelou became famous with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was banned in many places because of its openness about her past abuse. Over the course of her lifetime, Angelou published seven autobiographies, books of essays and poetry and received over 50 honorary doctorates. She was an avid singer and wrote song lyrics for films such as For Love of Ivy with Sidney Poitier as well as having her own albums of both singing and spoken word. And while Dr. Angelou is so known for her beautiful and empowering written and recorded words and voice, she was as equally as known for her acting ability both on stage and on screen in films like Roots and Poetic Justice and her direction of films such as Down in the Delta.
In 1993 Dr. Angelou read publicly for the first time her poem On the Pulse of Morning at the Inauguration of President Bill Clinton, which made her the second poet to read at a Presidential Inauguration and the first woman poet and African American poet ever to do so.
Maya Angelou passed away in May of 2014, but her legacy of bravery, strength, and beauty continues to inspire generations of women and men through the works she left behind.
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” ~Maya Angelou
- Posted by holx-admin
- On April 15, 2016