Maya Angelou: A Poet and Hero to Remember

Remembering Poet Maya Angelou

Rest well, Maya Angelou. Photo Source: By Talbot Troy (originally posted to Flickr as Maya Angelou) [CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was difficult to read the headline this morning of the passing of American poet Maya Angelou. She has been a personal literary hero for many years now, as part of a select group of authors I look up to. She truly spoke words that made me stop and ponder about life, as well as helping me to realize that female poets can achieve so much.

Poems of Maya Angelou

While she may be best known for her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” I can’t say enough how much her poetry has resonated with me. Here two of my favorite poems from her:

My top pick for her poems is “Awakening in New York.” It captures the city of New York so well and the line “stretching into dawn” has many layers of meaning. The poem “A Brave and Startling Truth” has strong imagery and speaks to how she was not afraid to tackle controversial issues. She understood that the abuse is something we need to confront and used words of poetry to do so. Her words slide effortlessly across the page while depicting such struggle – the irony is not lost on me.

Motivational Quotes

Quote about hearts by Maya Angelou

Wise quote, Maya Angelou.

Many times Maya Angelou’s quoted words have left me breathless. She had a way of connecting with both young and old – there was no age limit to who she could reach. How could that be? Because, words – in her quotes, poems and books – could reach through to the ageless heart of many people. Here are some wonderful quotes from her:

“Be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud”

“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.”

“People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

And, taking the line from that last quote above, she did make me feel powerful. Her words touched me as women, poet and author. She gave me hope of rising from abuse and finding therapy in words. Rest in peace, dear Maya, and we promise to keep your words close to our hearts.


46 thoughts on “Maya Angelou: A Poet and Hero to Remember

  1. Letizia

    I loved reading her memories and poems too. And always looked forward to seeing her interviewed as well. She had a way of expressing experiences that was at once simple and wonderfully unique. A lovely tribute, Christy.



    Great tribute dear Christy ! One can never stay emotionless after reading her stimulating and inspirational works ! She will stay alive in our souls,in our thoughts …
    All the best to you, Doda 🙂


  3. Janine Huldie

    I was in shock when I saw this trending this morning. She was definitely an icon and truly and inspiration tht will be missed greatly. Beautiful and spectacular tribute here, Christy.


  4. ghostwritingplus

    A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman, Christy. She is one of my favorite authors. I am lucky to have a signed thank you note from Ms. Angelou for including her story in my book.


  5. Aquileana

    “Be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud”.- (M. A).-

    Hello Christy;
    That was a very touching tribute.
    I enjoyed so much this feature…
    I have a presentiment that that this great inspiring woman will remain forever alive due to her writings and thoughts, such a beautiful legacy.
    Thanks for sharing this memorable post.
    May her spirit and soul keep is leading people ´s paths.
    Best wishes; Aquileana.-


    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Wonderful comment here, Aqui. Her spirit has so inspired me and it’s a pleasure to be able to give back to her in some way with this tribute. The power of words is amazing,, as you and I have most certainly found in our friendship. Sending you much love xo


  6. Christy Birmingham Post author

    Reblogged this on When Women Inspire and commented:

    A tribute to an amazing poet, author and social activist, Maya Angelou. Her passing is a reminder of the shortness of life, as well as the powerful influence one woman’s life has had on the world. Rest in peace, Maya.


  7. Dilip

    A heart rendering tribute dedicated to Maya Angelou. Thank you for writing on her great virtues and wisdom which will keep her memories ever green in our mids.
    Kind regards Christy.


  8. Rajagopal

    Thanks Christy for notifying the passing away of maya angelou. brief report, together with excerpts from some of her writings, came out in the indian media today 30/5…she may be no more but her poems will remain to inspire generations…


  9. Resa

    This is a lovely and heart felt tribute. Maya’s words have not yet finished their echo through the valley of life. Thank you Christy!


  10. irinadim

    Wonderful tribute, Christy. I enjoyed very much reading your analysis of “Awakening in New York” and all the links. She was a beautiful soul and I can imagine how her poetry helped you get out of the darkness. Thank you for this great post.


    1. Christy Birmingham Post author

      Irina, yes it was a difficult post to write and I’m glad you think I was able to explain her spirit well – I wanted the tribute to be memorable and to think that she may be looking down and smiling at the positive effect she has had on so many of us… Thank-you for your kind words xo


  11. Pingback: What Makes a Person Inspiring? | When Women Inspire

  12. Pingback: Analysis of Maya Angelou’s Awaking in New York Poem | Poetic Parfait

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