And Still She Rises: Why Maya Angelou Stays With Us

Maya Angelou for Queen of America!

Never mind: she already is.

Forget the pedigree and riches. The voice, the bearing–there’s her majesty. Oh, and the life lessons she taught us about resilience, forgiveness, love. And all those beautiful, beautiful words.

I hope you will see and hear a lot of Dr. Angelou in the coming weeks. Here’s my offering (thanks YouTube)–not the most famous nor most dramatic declamation of her most famous poem, “And Still I Rise,” but one in which she gives a wonderfully humble, human introduction to the poem: the miracle that every day people go to sleep in pain and suffering, yet still get up in the morning.

Forget for a moment the Presidential Medal of Honor. Remember the fact that she wrote, for all school children to read, of her two years of muteness following childhood abuse. And that she spoke again, a poet.

Forget for a moment her disciple/adopted daughter, Oprah, who could make a pretty good claim to Queenship herself, with a commercial twist. Remember that Dr. Angelou lived humbly in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Forget the Poet Laureate title. Remember the laugh.

Or just listen:

Do you have a favorite Maya Memory? (Man, I can’t believe we lost her and Pete Seeger in the same year.) Now’s the time to share.

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