Book review of And Still I Rise
Here is my book review of “And Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou which is a collection of poems.
“And Still I Rise” is Angelou’s third volume of poetry and she’s also the author behind “I know why the caged bird sings”.
And Still I Rise is a collection of poems, divided in three parts. Some of Angelou’s most famous and wellknown poems like Phenomenal Women and Still I Rise are included herein. The poems reflect Angelou’s life and touches subjects such as love, womanhood, racism, blackness and in general just being human. For a full reference on the poems included, have a look at this wikipedia site.
As mentioned in earlier blogposts and reviews, poetry is not something I read often. It’s not my favorite genre and I can’t really claim to know much about the history of poetry either. With that said, I’d wanted to read some of Maya Angelou’s works for a long time. Not only is she referenced as an important historical figure in some of my favorite chick-flick movies, but she is also a strong poet. Her literary influence stretches across her blackness, her womanhood and her humanity into something very strong and recognizable.
I had heard Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise before in several situations. When I found the book with a collection of her poems, I thought I’d see what she had to say. All the poems included in And Still I Rise, contribute to a sense of getting to know Angelou quite intimately. As a woman, as a black woman, and as a human being in general, with all its ups and downs. It’s a very short book, and I’m sure a lot of scholars have plenty of interesting things to say about Maya Angelou and her literary works. I will only speak about my experience with this particular book. And I was moved on several levels!
I can’t claim to understand what it’s like to be black/brown (or any other than white really), but reading these poems gave me some insight into Maya Angelou’s experience. Being a black woman seems to come with a unique set of blessings and curses, and she encompasses them perfectly. There is magic and pride as well as hurt and history. There are so many emotions involved in each poem and reading them in one sitting gave off a feeling of journeying through Maya Angelou’s inner life in a very poetic and honest manner. It all felt both raw and contemporary and I had an inkling of feeling whatever she felt when she wrote them. And to be fair, it isn’t just about race – there is so much more to it than that.
Poetry or not
I’m starting to think that some of these poets know what it’s about, and I might start reading more of it. Especially after reading And Still I Rise by May Angelou. I definitely want to read more of her works. It’s hard to say too much about a poetry collection, without giving it all away. But I think you should give it a try, even if you’re not big on poetry. What a phenomenal poet!
Have you read And Still I Rise or anything else by Maya Angelou? Maybe you have an idea for what I should read next? Please drop a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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