top of page

The Eloquence of Written Voice: Maya Angelou



Growing up I didn’t know I had a gift for writing poetry. I just knew I enjoyed writing. It’s interesting because I never really read the poems of others, but I have always heard of Maya Angelou. I have read a few of her poems in class or presentations, but never dived into her work. The poem that I am most familiar with is her Still I Rise Poem.


I can only imagine how it was for her to be an African American woman in the era that she was born in, which was in the 1920s. Being able to express herself in a unique way is amazing. I think that poetry is its own art form and takes time to develop as well. But through her writing, she made it look so effortless. This may be due to the characteristics that she held, with her experiences growing up. Her courage, tenacity and gravitating writing is why I felt important to showcase her process and appreciation for her work.


Creative Process


I find Dr. Maya Angelou’s creative Process interesting and reflective. I don’t think of the process of writing, maybe because everyone is so different. Where Dr. Angelou would find comfort in writing her poems in silence, solitude and without visual distraction. She would sometimes write in hotel rooms, but made sure that the rooms did not have any paintings in them as they are a disruption to her creative process. In addition, she makes sure to wake up early in the morning around 5am. She made sure that she carried a few important books, her bible and dictionary. Lastly, she made sure to bring a bottle of wine with her, which assisted in sparking her creativity. So you could say the environment, time and setting is where she finds most concentration.


If you would like to see how this process looks, go ahead and click the link below. It is a Youtuber that goes through the same routine as Maya Angelou did and recalls their experience during this process. It gives really good insight that is refreshing.





In terms of her writing process, she will write and write, even if what she is writing is not up to her standards, the idea is to keep writing. This helps ideas flow and soon create a body of work that seems so effortless and cohesive when written by others.


It’s interesting how each creative process is different for everyone, but what stands out the most is the diction she uses and how she is able to marry different verbs, adjectives, metaphors, e.t.c. to develop elegant, reflective and purposeful poems.


I find that part is what amazes me most about the work of creatives in general is their ability to be one individual, one creator but reach a magnitude of people. Despite them not knowing the process it took to produce such results, they are able to appreciate just as much or even more than the creator. With this, she makes the complex look simple. The amount of times that she probably had to write, spend money for hotels or even question her work is not something you would think twice about when reading her poems.


Inspiration


Aside from her creative process and brilliant work, I also find the way that she lives her life is inspirational. Some of her advice is related to the many quotes that she created. Such quotes impact the way that I perceive others and the world around me. In addition to the way in which I should carry myself. Two quotes that stood out to me the most inspirational to me is listed below.


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Undated


To me this quote is directly related to the reflection of one’s self. It is easy to get wrapped up in all of your success


es or accomplishments, it is more so how you treat that person or the interaction that you had with them that is most memorable.


Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.”

This quote depicts a beautiful simile between nature and strength. In the beginning of the quote she mentions the sun and the moon because they rise every morning and every night. This without a doubt happens everyday and is why she mentions the certainty of tides as well. They are both predictable and all have the rise in each other as commonalities. Towards the end of the quote she focuses more on the human experiences and compares it to that of the sun and the moon as just as people hope for their dreams to come true there still might be uncertainty. But even in the midst of all of that they still are able to rise or be resilient to what life throws at you.


Overall the way she carries herself as a writer, a woman and a human is an example I would like to replicate as I grow older. There are many lessons to be learned through the impactful life of Maya Angelou, whether it was her life experiences as a African American women in the , her career as a poet or her serves as an example of how influential individuals can be. It is amazing that what she wrote for the world is still read in classrooms and homes to this day as her legacy lives on and new poets create their own work, poetry will continue to touch the lives of readers.












Comments


bottom of page