Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is an American author and poet in addition to other things. She was born with the name of Marguerite Ann Johnson. She is known for her extensive non fiction work.

Angelou has been featured in a variety of television programs and movies. She was the narrator for a Sesame Street video called Elmo Saves Christmas in 1996. She appeared in Touched by an Angel and many more programs and videos.

In her career she has come out with books of poetry, of essays, and works about her life. Maya has also been credited with appearing in plays, movies, as well as television shows. She has received an incredible amount of honorary degrees as well as several awards. As an author, she is most recognized for her work on her autobiographies, which largely stay focused on memories from her childhood and the age of a young adult.

Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928. She came into the world in Missouri in the city of St. Louis. Even though she is famous for her artistic work now, Marguerite worked in many different jobs before she found success in writing and poetry. She also collaborated with such historical figures such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Jr. as part of her role in the American civil rights movement.

She had worked as a nightclub dancer, a performer, a fry cook, an opera cast member, a sex worker, a coordinator for a conference on Christian leadership in the south, as well as a journalist that covered events in Ghana and Egypt during the time when Africa was being decolonized. She has also produced public t.v. programs, movies, and plays, as well as directed and acted.

Angelou also became a Reynolds Professor in North Carolina at Wake Forest University teaching American studies in 1982. She changed things up starting in the nineties when she got into giving lectures. At one point, she was making around eighty yearly appearances and going around the circuit giving lectures. It would be a habit that she would go on doing well past eighty years old.

She was invited to recite a poem in 1993 to honor Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. The honor would make Angelou the first person since 1961 to give an inaugural recitation. The last before her recitation was Robert Frost giving his recitation for John F. Kennedy’s presidential inauguration.

Maya Angelou is fairly famous and has achieved a lot of recognition for her work. She was even named to be one of the top thirty ‘most powerful’ women in the United States in 2001, courtesy of Ladies Home Journal. Her books have been considered a valuable part of American literary history, despite some occasional attempts to have her books banned from individual American libraries.

Her first autobiographical work came out in 1969. Readers will surely recognize the title, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. The book goes over the details of Maya’s life from when she was young up until she was the age of seventeen years old. It sold many copies and catapulted her as an author onto the main stage, bringing with it much praise and acclaim. It would also garner her artistic recognition around the world as a result.

To this very day it is still one of the most recognized books she has to her name. The release of the book allowed her to discuss certain details from her personal life, but she was doing so on a very public platform. Her writing and its success meant that she received a position of instant respect as a spokesperson of sorts for women as well as black people. The book was adapted into a television movie in 1979.

Some of her works are considered to be a defense of the black culture and can frequently be found in the required reading list of college courses. Universities and schools across the world have her books as part of the curriculum. While some may consider her books to be in the category of autobiographical fiction, they are largely accepted as autobiographical in nature.

Maya Angelou came out with her first non fiction book in 1983. The book was a departure from her previous collections of tales and poems. The book is titled Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?

She is fairly well known to the public for her autobiographies. In a series of six autobiographies, Angelou has explored her life, thoughts, and feelings. The first one came out in 1969 and is perhaps what she is most well known for, her Caged Bird novel. The book is known to be her magnum opus and it ended up being nominated to receive a National Book Award.

Her 1971 volume of poetry also enjoyed a nomination for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? is one of Maya’s early non fiction novels. The book came out to high praise and publications like the New York Times praised it highly, going on about the rue, wisdom, and humor of this talented writer’s storytelling and called Angelou someone that was born to write.

James Baldwin also had positive things to say about the book, saying that the writing was bitter and beautiful and saying that Angelou was discussing topics of ‘our survival’. You can find a lot of classic Maya Angelou in this work that many readers say is just like she is speaking directly to them from her heart.

This celebration of life and the human spirit and emotions is written as only Angelou could do. Explore a wide range of feelings such as sadness, the gentle tough of tenderness, the joyous writing of an American author that has established herself throughout the decades in the literary world.

Check out the seminal book that others are calling a book that was written from the heart. Maya is truly in top form in the writing of this novel and this is a poetic work that readers will be celebrating for a long time. Discover it and the other works of this talented artist and voice for yourself and find out why Angelou’s voice is one of the most vibrant and powerful to come along during our time.

Books in order of publication by series:


Maya Angelou Collection: 6 Books(2014)


Just Give Me A Cool Drink of Water ‘Fore I Diie(1971) 
Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well(1975) 
And Still I Rise(1978) 
Now Sheba Sings the Song(1987) 
I Shall Not Be Moved(1990) 
On the Pulse of Morning(1993) 
Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou(1994) 
Phenomenal Woman(1995) 
Black Pearls(1998) 
Amazing Peace(2010) 
Soul Feathers(2011) 
Touched by an Angel(2011) 
Poetry for Young People(2013) 
The Complete Poetry(2015) 

Picture Books

Mrs. Flowers(1986) 
My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me(1994) 
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me at All(1996) 
Kofi and His Magic(1996) 
Angelina of Italy(2004) 
Izak of Lapland(2004) 
Mikale of Hawaii(2004) 
Renee Marie of France(2004) 

Personal Narrative Books

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings(1969) 
Gather Together in My Name(1974) 
Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas(1976) 
The Heart of a Woman(1981) 
All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes(1986) 

Non-Fiction Books

Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing?(1983) 
Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now(1992) 
The Heart of a Woman,on the Pulse(1997) 
Even the Stars Look Lonesome(1997) 
Voyage of the Amistad(1997) 
Making Magic in the World(1998) 
Amistad: Give Us Free : a Celebration of the Film by Steven Spielberg(1999) 
Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey(1999) 
A Song Flung Up to Heaven(2002) 
Hallelujah! the Welcome Table(2004) 
Letter to My Daughter(2008) 
Great Food, All Day Long(2010) 
Mom & Me & Mom(2013) 
His Day is Done(2014) 
Rainbow in the Cloud(2014) 
Performance Enhancing Drugs and its effects(2014) 
Strategies of Abundance(2014) 
Understanding Aspergers(2014) 
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me(2018)
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