Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou60 posts
2 Apr, 2013
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Mom & Me & Mom

Book

momandmePublished by Random House, this book is the seventh and final of her autobiographical works. In this work, Angelou talks about her mother, Vivian Baxter, and the turbulent but eventually loving relationship the two enjoyed. On writing about her mother:

I wanted to write about her about 20 years ago, but the book wasn’t ready. And I suppose I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t learned enough. I didn’t know that love was healing. I didn’t understand that and I think I was still wrapped in an erroneous belief that love had something to do with sentimentality and mush and romance. And after years I found…as strange as it may seem…it was love which allowed her to send her children away because she wasn’t ready for children.

1 Jan, 2010
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Great Food, All Day Long

Book

great foodRandom House publishes a second cook book by Angelou, who at 81 years old adds some of her philosophies on food and eating to the book.

Without going out of my way to cut down on fats and sugar, I discovered that by making my food more savoury, I automatically found I was eating less: a smaller portion of something tasty left me feeling fuller for longer. So I decided, for my second cookbook, to put together a collection of savoury meals that were as good to eat at 8.30am as they were at 8.30pm. And yes, you can have fried rice for breakfast.

23 Sep, 2008
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Letter to My Daughter

Book

letter to my daughterIn this work published by Random House, Angelou offers a collection of essays and stories full of advice and memories to women of all ages and nationalities. She explains what prompted her to write this book:

I had no daughters. I had a son who was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. But in reality I have lots of daughters. Black ones, white ones, Asian ones and Jewish ones and the Spanish-speaking ones… Sometimes I’ll get a thousand pieces of mail a week from young women who think I’m wise. So they use me as a mother and I think of them as my daughters. So I thought it was time to say, ‘Listen, kids, I have been here and done this. I got into this scrape and got out of it. I paid for it. I want you to know that if you take this road in the dark, to the left there’s a big hole and if you’re not careful you’ll step in it and break your foot.’

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Hallelujah! The Welcome Table

Book

hallelujah the welcome tableRandom House publishes Angelou’s first cook book, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes,  in which she adds significance to each recipe by relating  stories about her life experiences.

…people all over the world use food as a device. I mean, of course, we use it because our bodies need it as fuel. But we also use it to flirt, to seek a job, to seek not just employment, but raises. We use it to prepare a climate for reconciliation. We can use food to tell a person you’re not very important to me.

14 Sep, 2004
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Itak of Lapland

Book

itakPublished by Random House, this is one in the Maya’s World series of four books called for preschool children, written by Angelou and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Main character Itak cares for reindeer, as well as his younger brother.

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Angelina of Italy

Book

angelinaPublished by Random House, this is one in the Maya’s World series of four books for preschool children, written by Angelou and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Main character Anglina thinks the Tower of Pisa is made of pizzas.

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Renée Marie of France

Book

reneePublished by Random House, this is one in the Maya’s World series of four books for preschool children, written by Angelou and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Main character Renee visits the Eiffel Tower.

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Mikale of Hawaii

Book

mikalePublished by Random House, this is one in the Maya’s World series of four books for preschool children, written by Angelou and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell. Main character Mikale’s uncle and pet fish teach him about responsibility.

1 Jan, 2002
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A Song Flung Up to Heaven

Book

song flung upPublished by Random House, this book is the sixth in a series of autobiographical works. In this work, Angelou begins by describing her involvement in the American Civil Rights movement after returning from Ghana, and ends with her withdrawal public activity and a decision to begin writing I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She explains:

It was a very difficult book to write. In all my work, I try to say – you may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies? But I didn’t see how I could do that with this book, dealing with Malcolm’s murder, Martin’s murder, the uprising in Watts, the end of a love affair- marriage-cum-something. It took me six years to write this book, and it’s the slimmest of all the volumes.

5 Nov, 1996
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Kofi and His Magic

Book

kofiIn this children’s book published by Clarkson Potter, written by Angelou and including photographs by Margeret Courtney-Clark, young children read about a young boy in Ghana who uses special mental powers to move his family’s home.

17 Jan, 1995
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Phenomenal Woman

Book

phenomenal womanFour of Angelou’s most famous poems are published as Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women by Random House together in one volume. She says about the title poem:

I wrote it for black women, and white women, and Chinese women, and Japanese women, and Jewish women. I wrote it for Native American women, Aleut, Eskimo ladies. I wrote it for all women. Very fat women, very thin, pretty, plain. Now, I know men are phenomenal, but they have to write their own poem.

Listen: Dr. Maya Angelou Recites Her Poem "Phenomenal Woman" | Super Soul Sunday | OWN

3 Oct, 1994
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My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me

Book

my painted houseIn this children’s book published by Crown, written by Angelou and including photographs by Margeret Courtney-Clark, young children learn about the life and culture of an eight-year-old Ndebele girl from a South African village.

6 Feb, 1993
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Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

Book

life doesn't frighten meWritten by Angelou and illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat, this poem for young children is published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang.

…for all children who whistle in the dark and who refuse to admit that they’re frightened out of their wits

1 Jan, 1990
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I Shall Not Be Moved

Book

I_Shall_Not_Be_Moved_(Angelou_collection)Random House publishes Angelou’s fifth collection of poetry, with 32 new poems about hard work and the struggles of African Americans, among other topics. On the meaning behind the title of the work:

I believe that every human being has within herself, within himself, a moral standard, a private place that should be invited, the place you go when you reach for that last breath and can’t get it, and you meet your maker, that place from which you should never be swayed or persuaded. It is a moral standard. And everybody should say, `I shall not be moved from this place.’ That is to say, `I will not even live at any cost.

1 Jan, 1987
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Now Sheba Sings the Song

Book

now sheba singsPlume Books publishes a work containing 84 sepia and black and white sketches of women of color, created by artist Tom Feelings, and an accompanying poem by Angelou commissioned especially for the book. Feelings says:

I tried to capture a sense of the primal importance of black women, fueled by my growing awareness of their strength and beauty, so undervalued in the world.

1 Jan, 1986
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Poems

Book

poemsRandom House publishes an anthology of Angelou’s  poetry. The volume contains poems from all of her first four books of poetry.

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All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

Book

Published by Random House, this book is the fifth in a series of autobiographical works. Angelou relates her experiences living in Ghana. Angelou explains the source of the book’s title:

I never agreed, even as a young person, with the Thomas Wolfe title You Can’t Go Home Again. Instinctively I didn’t. But the truth is, you can never leave home. You take it with you; it’s under your fingernails; it’s in the hair follicles; it’s in the way you smile; it’s in the ride of your hips, in the passage of your breasts; it’s all there, no matter where you go. You can take on the affectations and the postures of other places and even learn to speak their ways. But the truth is, home is between your teeth.

Maya Angelou – All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes – Part 1

1 Jan, 1983
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Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?

Book

Shaker,_Why_Don't_You_SingRandom House publishes Angelou’s fourth collection of poetry. The volume contains 28 poems dealing with partying and singing as celebration of life, among other topics.

1 Jan, 1981
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The Heart of a Woman

Book

Maya Angelou Heart of A WomanAngelou’s fourth autobiographical work, published by Random house, describes her interactions with Martin Luther King, Malcom X, and Billie Holiday. She also writes about her marriage to an African activist, and raising her teenage son. The title of the book is inspired by a poem with the same name, written by Georgia Douglas Johnson.

12 Aug, 1976
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Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas

Book

singin and swinginAngelou’s third autobiographical work, published by Random House, covers the events in her life from 1949 to 1955. Angelou becomes a mother, enters the world of singing and acting, and goes on a world tour with the Broadway show Porgy and Bess. In a 1983 interview, Angelou explains the source of the book’s title:

…from a time in the twenties and thirties when black people used to have rent parties.
On Saturday night from around nine when they’d give these parties, through the next morning when they would go to church and have the Sunday meal, until early Sunday evening was the time when everyone was encouraged to sing and swing and get merry like Christmas so one would have some fuel with which to live the rest of the week.

12 Apr, 1974
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Gather Together in My Name

Book

Gather Together In my NameAngelou’s second autobiographical work continues where I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings left off. The narrative, published by Random House, describes Angelou’s life between the ages of 16 and 19.

I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, “I never did anything wrong. Who, Moi? – never I. I have no skeletons in my closet. In fact, I have no closet.” They lie like that and then young people find themselves in situations and they think, “Damn I must be a pretty bad guy. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.” They can’t forgive themselves and go on with their lives. So I wrote the book…. Meaning that all those grown people, all those adults, all those parents and grandparents and teachers and preachers and rabbis and priests who lie to the children can gather together in my name and I will tell them the truth. Wherever you are, you have got to admit it and set about to make a change….It’s the most painful book I’ve ever written.

1 Jan, 1969
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Book

Anglou’s first autobiographical work is published by Random House. The text covers details of her early life from age three to sixteen. Angelou writes in the first person about her memories of growing up in Stamps, Arkansas and then in California. She tells George Plimpton of the Paris Review:

I thought I was going to write Caged Bird and that would be it and I would go back to playwriting and writing scripts for television. Autobiography is awfully seductive; it’s wonderful. Once I got into it I realized I was following a tradition established by Frederick Douglass—the slave narrative—speaking in the first-person singular talking about the first-person plural, always saying I meaning we.

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