Andrews, Bruce. "Writing Social Work & Political Practice." In The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book, edited by Andrews and Charles Bernstein. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984, pp. 133-136. Bernstein, Charles, ed. Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Perelman, Bob. "Building a More Powerful Vocabulary: Bruce Andrews and the World Trade Center." Arizona Quarterly 50.4 (winter 1994): 117-131.
ANGELOU, MAYA (1928- ) Throughout her career, Maya Angelou has both fit into and broken the mold for African-American poets. She has written autobiography, like many black writers of the earlier harlem renaissance, and she has been associated with the Harlem Writers' Guild since the late 1950s. However, she has also transcended the limits society usually sets for African-American as well as female writers, having worked extensively in the Civil Rights movement, written for English-language newspapers in Africa, and succeeded in stage and film by acting, writing, and producing.
Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis. Raped as a young girl, she was mute for several years. In early adulthood she had a short career in prostitution, but she found her niche in performing arts. Angelou published her first volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, in 1971, earning a Pulitzer Prize nomination. And Still I Rise (1978), Now Sheba Sings the Song (1987), and I Shall Not Be Moved (1990) followed. Angelou has also garnered a Tony (1973) nomination and an Emmy
(1977) nomination for her acting and a National Book Award nomination (1970) for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969).
Angelou's work is marked by the fusion of poetry and autobiography. In childhood Angelou found inspiration in lyric poetry. In her first autobiographical work, Angelou writes that, at age six, she "met and fell in love with William Shakespeare" (14). Shakespeare's whiteness, however, caused her distress. Racial tension pervades Angelou's early work. "And Still I Rise"
(1978) indicates her ongoing struggle: "I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, / Welling and swelling I bear in the tide." Still, Angelou has cited as an influence Emily Dickinson, whose "familiar ballad form," Mary Jane Lupton has written, "can be heard in some of Angelou's poems" (49).
In 1993 Angelou read her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at William J. Clinton's presidential inaugura tion. Although lauded by the masses, critics attacked the poem. To compare "Pulse" to "The Gift Outright," the poem Robert frost read at John F. Kennedy's inauguration, A.R. Coulthard writes, is to say "something about what has happened to American verse over the intervening decades" (2). Angelou's poem opens with three symbols repeated often: "A Rock, A River, A Tree / Hosts to species long since departed." Coulthard implies that such stock imagery leads readers "mistakenly [to] believe that symbolism equates with profundity, and such thinking may have produced Angelou's Rock, River, and Tree" (4). Her detractors notwithstanding, Angelou moves readers who might not be schooled in Frost. "On the Pulse of Morning" has been set to music and was recently performed by the Winston-Salem Symphony—a clear sign of popular, if not academic, recognition. Angelou continues to write lyric poetry that addresses questions of race and womanhood in a constantly changing society.
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