Thursday, May 15, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou

"Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou is the Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for May 15, 2014.  The poem was first appeared in Cosmopolitan in 1978.  A link to the poem may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178942.

Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Johnson in 1928) is a poet, essayist, memoirist, screenwriter, editor, singer, dancer, actress, composer, educator, and civil rights activist.  She worked with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  She was Hollywood's first female director of African descent.  She is currently a Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.  She served on committees under Presidents Ford and Carter, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.  Reference to this and additional biographical information may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/maya-angelou.

When "Phenomenal Woman" was first published, Angelou would have been about fifty years of age (about as pictured)--indeed "not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size."  And yet, as the poet reveals, she is always the center of attention, the focal point in any crowd.  What she lacks in looks she more that makes up for with presence and swagger.  You go, girl!

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