Maya Angelou: Still I Rise

This is again such powerful stuff by Maya Angelou, just when I most needed to listen to someone who ekes of utter sincerity. Thank you so much for your beautiful gift of words.

Still I Rise


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


Maya Angelou is an African American woman poet who is such an exceptional writer. She was born on April 4, 1928 and is known to be called “America’s most visible black female autobiographer”.  She was a member of the Harlem Writers Guild in the late 1950s  and also took part in the Civil Rights Movement. Most of her books are based on the theme of identity, family, and racism which are distributed in schools and universities internationally. I chose Maya Angelous because I can relate to being an African American woman in terms of overcoming obstacles and looking past all negativity.

I am honored to have a relationship with one of  her poems “Still I Rise”. I strongly believe that this poem gives every reader the assurance that no matter how much someone may put you down that you must always rise above the situation.  The repeating words “I rise” was extremely captivating and was a great theme for this poem. I became uplifted after reading and annotating this particular poem. Still I rise is such an inspirational poem and is directed to women in my opinion. In the third stanza Maya Angelou seems to correspond her attitude with nature. I believe this was a creative way to express her feelings. Overall, Maya Angelou is a wonderful poet who excels in painting pictures for all readers.


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