Maya Angelou

cantfindit

An acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer, Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri. Angelou had a broad career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and Hollywood’s first female black director, but became most famous as a writer, editor, essayist, playwright, and poet. As a civil rights activist, Angelou worked for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She was also an educator and served as the Reynolds professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. By 1975, wrote Carol E. Neubauer in Southern Women Writers: The New Generation, Angelou was recognized “as a spokesperson for… all people who are committed to raising the moral standards of living in the United States.” She served on two presidential committees, for Gerald Ford in 1975 and for Jimmy Carter in 1977. In 2000, Angelou was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. In 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., by President Barack Obama. Angelou was awarded over 50 honorary degrees before her death. Source

Alone

Lying, thinking

Last night

How to find my soul a home

Where water is not thirsty

And bread loaf is not stone

I came up with one thing

And I don't believe I'm wrong

That nobody,

But nobody

Can make it out here alone.

 

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

 

There are some millionaires

With money they can't use

Their wives run round like banshees

Their children sing the blues

They've got expensive doctors

To cure their hearts of stone.

But nobody

No, nobody

Can make it out here alone.

 

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

 

Now if you listen closely

I'll tell you what I know

Storm clouds are gathering

The wind is gonna blow

The race of man is suffering

And I can hear the moan,

'Cause nobody,

But nobody

Can make it out here alone.

 

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody

Can make it out here alone.

Published:

1975

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Black Arts Movement

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Doubt & Fear

Intersectionality & Culture

Mental Health

Literary Devices:

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Litote

Ironic understatement in which a positive idea is expressed using a negative of its opposite.

Paradox

a situation that seems to contradict itself

Repetition

a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Simile

a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”