Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.” 
― Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women

Maya Angelou quotes:

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” 

“I do not trust people who don't love themselves and yet tell me, 'I love you.' There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” 

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” 

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” 


  1. Wonderful photos and quotes - especially love that second photo of her dancing. Deeply sad that she's gone.

  2. She was phenomenally talented at both writing and at living life. Everyone should read her autobiographical novel, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. It's an eye-opener to an era and a testament to Angelou's indomitable spirit. She had a positive energy and driving force that told her to hold her head high, take pride in her accomplishments large and small, and to go forth with courage. She also had the capacity to learn from her hardships, forgive herself and others, and then pass those lessons on to others via her earthy writing. We've lost a literary great and an extraordinary human being.

  3. I had not seen some of these photos of Dr. Maya Angelou. I really enjoyed looking at them, especially the one of her dancing and the one of her when she was young. She was really beautiful, inside and out. I also like that you posted some of her quotes. Thank you for this posting. Dr. Angelou will be truly missed, but she left behind a legacy that will live forever.

  4. Thanks for this post, Gaia. I love the quotes you shared, she was such an inspiration.


  5. Thank you - beautiful tribute. That's the perfect poem for Dr. Maya Angelou herself, for you and your readers!

  6. You always manage to find the best photos. Thank you. This was lovely. She was, is, such an inspiration. I'm so happy she received the acclaim she deserved while she was still alive, too often it happens postmortem.

  7. Thank you for the pictures and quotes. I am never one for the sentimental poetry, but Maya Angelou's always resonate with me, and over the years I've been meaning to read the autobiography. I guess now is as good a time as any.

  8. That photo of Maya Angelou dancing is that of her dancing with Amiri Baraka- (at the opening of the home of the Schomberg library in NYC)formerly LeRoi Jones who also passed away earlier this year, and was famed for running with other Beat poets,like Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and so forth. Later on, he also made contributions in scholarly research about jazz and it as an art form.He was quite controversial over the course of his life, but then if you are not controversial, then you are not really engaging with life. The bottom line,is though, we have far too few poets,artists, thinkers , and dreamers and too much of people going along with the way things are. I never forgot her seminal work- "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"- I think that I will go back and re-read it and other works as well.


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