Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poetry Podcast -- "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou

My gift to you for Women's History Month. Listen to the poem here -- and enjoy the celebration:

About the poet:

Maya Angelou.

She needs almost no introduction.

What can I say about her?

She's been a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, civil rights activist, producer, and director.

She is often described as a "global renaissance woman."

And that about says it all.

About this poem

"Phenomenal Woman" was first published in 1978.

Lyman B. Hagan, who published "Heart of a woman, mind of a writer, soul of a poet: A Critical Analysis of the Writings of Maya Angelou (1997)," says of the poem:

"The woman described is easily matched to the author herself. She has a strong personality and a compelling presence as defined by the poem."

Hagan points out that Angelou uses repetition to stress certain phrases in the poem "to give it flow and make it familiar and lyrical ... most of her poetry could easily be set to music."

Monica Stark, a Vancouver-based freelance writer and editor for january magazine says of the poem, "'Phenomenal Woman' is an anthem of women's strength in their own womanhood. The almost childish rhyming cadence is haunting in its simplicity."

Simple, yet powerful.

The lessons: Attractive personality trumps attractive genetics --- and --- let quality standards of character be the only standards by which we as women judge ourselves and others.

Nuff said.

Related links:

Maya Angelou's official website
january magazine -- books, news, reviews, interviews

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