Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer’s remarkable life.
Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume—from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie (“Though there’s one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man’s responsibility to man”) to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem “Still I Rise” (“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise”) to her “On the Pulse of Morning” tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inauguration (“Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream.”).
Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry also features her final long-form poems, including “A Brave and Startling Truth,” “Amazing Peace,” “His Day Is Done,” and the honest and endearing Mother:
“I feared if I let you go
You would leave me eternally.
You smiled at my fears, saying
I could not stay in your lap forever”
This collection also includes the never-before-published poem “Amazement Awaits,” commissioned for the 2008 Olympic Games:
“We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for
At the lintel of the world we most need.
We are here roaring and singing.
We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us.”
Timeless and prescient, this definitive compendium will warm the hearts of Maya Angelou’s most ardent admirers as it introduces new readers to the legendary poet, activist, and teacher—a phenomenal woman for the ages.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.60(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Hometown:Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Date of Birth:April 4, 1928
Place of Birth:St. Louis, Missouri
Education:High school in Atlanta and San Francisco
Read an Excerpt
They Went Home
They went home and told their wives,
that never once in all their lives,
had they known a girl like me,
But … They went home.
They said my house was licking clean,
no word I spoke was ever mean,
I had an air of mystery,
But … They went home.
My praises were on all men’s lips,
they liked my smile, my wit, my hips,
they’d spend one night, or two or three.
Soft you day, be velvet soft,
My true love approaches,
Look you bright, you dusty sun,
Array your golden coaches.
Soft you wind, be soft as silk,
My true love is speaking.
Hold you birds, your silver throats,
His golden voice I’m seeking.
Come you death, in haste, do come,
My shroud of black be weaving,
Quiet my heart, be deathly quiet,
My true love is leaving.
A Zorro Man
Here in the wombed room silk purple drapes flash a light as subtle as your hands before love-making
Here in the covered lens
I catch a clitoral image of your general inhabitation long and like a late dawn in winter
Here this clean mirror traps me unwilling in a gone time when I was love and you were booted and brave and trembling for me.
To a Man
My man is
Black Golden Amber
Warm mouths of Brandy Fine
Cautious sunlight on a patterned rug
Coughing laughter, rocked on a whorl of French tobacco
Graceful turns on woolen stilts
A cat’s eye.
Southern. Plump and tender with navy-bean sullenness
And did I say “Tender”?
A big cat stalks through stubborn bush
And did I mention “Amber”?
The heatless fire consuming itself.
Again. Anew. Into ever neverlessness.
My man is Amber
Always into itself
New. Now New.
Carefully the leaves of autumn sprinkle down the tinny sound of little dyings and skies sated of ruddy sunsets of roseate dawns roil ceaselessly in cobweb greys and turn to black for comfort.
Only lovers see the fall a signal end to endings a gruffish gesture alerting those who will not be alarmed that we begin to stop in order simply to begin again.
No Loser, No Weeper
“I hate to lose something,”
then she bent her head,
“even a dime, I wish I was dead.
I can’t explain it. No more to be said.
’Cept I hate to lose something.
“I lost a doll once and cried for a week.
She could open her eyes, and do all but speak.
I believe she was took, by some doll-snatching sneak.
I tell you, I hate to lose something.
“A watch of mine once, got up and walked away.
It had twelve numbers on it and for the time of day.
I’ll never forget it and all I can say
Is I really hate to lose something.
“Now if I felt that way ’bout a watch and a toy,
What you think I feel ’bout my lover-boy?
I ain’t threatening you, madam, but he is my evening’s joy.
And I mean I really hate to lose something.”
When You Come to Me
When you come to me, unbidden,
To long-ago rooms,
Where memories lie.
Offering me, as to a child, an attic,
Gatherings of days too few,
Baubles of stolen kisses,
Trinkets of borrowed loves,
Trunks of secret words,
Soft grey ghosts crawl up my sleeve to peer into my eyes while I within deny their threats and answer them with lies.
Mushlike memories perform a ritual on my lips
I lie in stolid hopelessness and they lay my soul in strips.
In a Time
In a time of secret wooing
Today prepares tomorrow’s ruin
Left knows not what right is doing
My heart is torn asunder.
In a time of furtive sighs
Sweet hellos and sad goodbyes
Half-truths told and entire lies
My conscience echoes thunder.
In a time when kingdoms come
Joy is brief as summer’s fun
Happiness its race has run
Then pain stalks in to plunder.
The crystal rags
Viscous tatters of a worn-through soul.
Deep swan song
Blue farewell of a dying dream.
Welcoming Bluebeards to our darkening closets,
Stranglers to our outstretched necks,
Stranglers, who neither care nor
care to know that
DEATH IS INTERNAL.
Savoring sweet the teethed lies,
Bellying the grounds before alien gods,
Gods, who neither know nor
wish to know that
HELL IS INTERNAL.
Rubbing the nakednesses with gloved hands,
Inverting our mouths in tongued kisses,
Kisses that neither touch nor
care to touch if
LOVE IS INTERNAL.
To a Husband
Your voice at times a fist
Tight in your throat
Jabs ceaselessly at phantoms
In the room,
Your hand a carved and
Goes down the Nile
To point out Pharaoh’s tomb.
You’re Africa to me
At brightest dawn.
The Congo’s green and
Copper’s brackish hue,
A continent to build
With Black Man’s brawn.
I sit at home and see it all
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought this book because I needed inspiration and sustenance while I through a divorce. These poems are like brilliant gems that remind me of the beauty of life experiences, both good and bad.