Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Love Liberates: Maya Angelou RIP

angeloubooksigning103008 4 300x250 Maya Angelous Legacy: Inspiring Quotes for Writers

'No sun outlasts its sunset but will rise again and bring the dawn.' ~ Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou died last month. Poet, writer, human rights campaigner, compassionate crusader. The epitaphs attributed to her have taken measure of all of these. And such an outpouring there has been. 

I first heard of Maya Angelou when I came across her famous poem 'Still I Rise' in a library book once. The words pounded off the page, each a feisty declaration, a defiance of negativity through positivity, a reckoning, a literal rising. It was akin to a sword being pulled from a stone, something to put 'starch' in your backbone alright and make you stand up straight:

'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou

Her poems are simple, straight-forward, brave, and honest, confessions, declarations and intimations. Exactly as she advised she had accomplished, to write so that it 'slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.' 

Maya Angelou is best known perhaps for her autobiography 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings', a narrative of Black History in the 1930s, the first volume out of five that have all been bestsellers: 'I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it's like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again'. She overcomes all hardships to become a writer, a bestselling author, a campaigner for the Civil Rights movement on close terms with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and most importantly, an ambassador for compassion.  In 1993, she was the first female poet to read at a presidential inauguration for Bill Clinton.

I've been meaning to get around to posting this dedication to her. Her words have wisdom that will live on forever. Of all the articles posted since her death, this wealth of wisdom shines forth whether in short quotes or interviews. Posted below are some of her thoughts on writing; invaluable of course to any budding writers. And also an interview that has been trending ever since news of her death broke, that I feel expresses exactly the warmth of her personality, the innate love and compassion she was so well known and liked for. Watch it and smile in response. You can also read some of her poems here: A Poem A Day/Maya Angelou. 

Another great voice of our time gone, but never to be forgotten. Like the sun that has set, but 'will rise again to bring the dawn.'  RIP Maya Angelou. Our hearts salute you for a service well done. 

~ Siobhán  


~  'The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.'

~ 'You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.'

~ 'When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.'

~ 'The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.'

~ 'Words are things… Some day we’ll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.'

~ 'Poetry puts starch in your backbone so you can stand, so you can compose your life.'

~ 'When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound. I really love language. I love it for what it does for us, how it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and delicacies of our existence. And then it allows us to laugh, allows us to show wit. Real wit is shown in language. We need language.'

 Love Liberates:

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