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Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women

4.55  ·  Rating Details ·  3,576 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
Maya Angelou, the bestselling author of On the Pulse of Morning, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now, and other lavishly praised works, is considered one of America's finest poets. Here, four of her most highly acclaimed poems are assembled in a beautiful gift edition that provides a feast for the eyes as well as the heart. (Poetry)
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 17th 1995 by Random House
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Petra Eggs
May 05, 2015 Petra Eggs rated it it was amazing
Update Sadly, after a tragic childhood but a wonderful, fulfilled life as an adult, Maya Angelou, a truly phenomenal woman, has died this morning 27th May, 2014 at 86.


Maya Angelou is such a wonderful wordsmith, you can see she writes with a smile, and maybe a wink, and a backward glance, half flirtatious, over her shoulder. She's a phenomenal author.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m tel
Clare Bear
Feb 19, 2008 Clare Bear marked it as to-read
Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
Parthiban Sekar
Nov 15, 2015 Parthiban Sekar rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"Phenomenal Woman" has always been one of the unforgettable poems to me, though it is about a women or women as a whole. As the title claims to be, these four poems are the greatest works of Maya Angelou, celebrating women.

Though it says "Celebrating Women", it is not necessary that only women can read these quintessential poems. "Still I rise" and "Weekend Glory" are hard to forget once we read them, as the unrelenting words would start resonating deep within us.

The last poem "Our Grandmothers"
"I write for the Black voice and for any ear which can hear it."

So said the author of this little book, who sadly died earlier this year. It is a beautiful slim hardback book, slightly wider than an average paperback, and contains just one famous poem Phenomenal Woman by the great Maya Angelou. The poem is given an extra dimension, as it is accompanied by reproductions of paintings of Tahitian women by Paul Gauguin, who died 25 years before Angelou was born. Although the two are miles apart bot
Jun 29, 2014 Didi rated it really liked it
Absolutely fantastic little book containing 4 of Maya Angelou's well known poems - Phenomenal Woman, Still I Rise, Weekend Glory, Our Grandmothers. Four fabulous poems celebrating women in their extraordinariness! It's 22 pages and it's small format makes it a lovely present for the important exceptional women in your life. Phenomenal Woman is also a great way to get acquainted with Maya Angelou's wonderful poetry. A pleasure to read and to savour over and over...
Sep 12, 2016 BookEater rated it really liked it
This book was wonderfully short and meaningful. Maya Angelou's poetic voice is an endless burning flame of passion and wisdom. And it's ironic that a phenomenal woman wrote a book of the same title.
Eva Gogola
Aug 20, 2016 Eva Gogola rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Whenever I feel the pressure of a misogynistic world, this is the book I will run to. I will open this tiny collection of four poems and gain the strength and power of a truly phenomenal woman. When I have my own home and I begin to collect the books that I want at my side, this will be one of the first I seek.

They accuse me of livin'
from day to day,
but who are they kiddin'?
So are they.

My life ain't heaven
but it sure ain't hell.
I'm not on top
but I call it swell

From Weekend Glory
 SaЯRah Muhammad
Oct 06, 2015 SaЯRah Muhammad rated it it was amazing
If every woman believed this and lived this Phenomenal Woman, what a powerful force we would be.Maya simply extols the WOMAN. She is effortlessly eloquent and each word is perfectly selected to fit. I take pride in being a woman more so since Maya can express my feelings that I could never put into words. Her poetry deserves as many stars as there are in the black night sky.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
Amber Lewis
Apr 22, 2013 Amber Lewis rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal Woman is one of my favorite Maya Angelou poems. Although I have read the poems several times before, I have never looked at the poem through the eyes of a writer. When I read the poem this last time, I was able to pick up on so much more about the content Maya Angelou discussed in her poem.
One of the major elements recognized when reading the poem is Maya Angelou's use of repetition with the lines "I'm a woman, Phenomenally, Phenomenal Woman, That's me." This element ties with what is
Apr 22, 2013 Davonni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: odyssey

One of my all-time favorite poems! Growing up I was always exposed to poetry. My mother writes and has published two poetry books of her own. TO future show the love of poetry in my family my mother and father decided to name me after the famous author/poet Nikki Giovanni. In the 5th grade I preformed this poem for a school function for black history month ever since then I have always enjoyed reading this poem. This poem is such a wonderful piece of literature that no matter how many times I re
Gala Ostlund
Maya Angelou is a huge inspiration. She is a black women that grew up in times of oppression and prejudice yet still managed to become a hero. She wrote books, poems and short stories about her life and ideas. This collection of poems is my favorite because they encourage women to be all that they can be. "Phenomenal Women" reminds us that we are special. Most of her poems help inspire good self-esteem and a sense of self-worth. other ideas in these poems are: to embrace your culture, be proud o ...more
Jul 10, 2009 Kim rated it it was amazing
this book was given to me by a dear friend when i first moved to new york city from texas. someone had gifted her a copy when she moved out to LA from texas a year or two before and she was paying it forward.

i suppose the idea was for it to serve as a reminder of our strength - something we easily forget when we find ourselves all alone in a big, strange city.

it definitely gave me a little bit of comfort and reassurance at the time.

every young girl should be forced to read this over and over.
Maxi (slothreads)
Aug 13, 2016 Maxi (slothreads) rated it liked it
Recommended to Maxi by: Gemma
Shelves: i-own-it, 2016, poetry
PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge: a book of poetry.

The reason why I'm giving this only three stars it's simply because poetry is not for me.
I especially liked Still I Rise and Weekend Glory but I'm more of like a prose type of girl.
If you're really into poetry I think you'll really love this little book, and it also could be an awesome gift since it's so tiny but so powerful.
Sep 10, 2014 Tania rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tania by: Sonja Arlow
Shelves: non-fiction
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.

I especially enjoyed the first and last poem in the book. All of the poems are a compelling reminder of the special strenght of being a woman.

I will be sharing all of them with my daughter once she is old enough.

Thanks Sonja, this is such a beautiful gift.
Sanni (Book Lion)
Mar 08, 2016 Sanni (Book Lion) rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this cute, little book with Maya Angelou's poems. And when i say little i am referring to the number of pages rather then its meaning which i find inspirational, magnificent and unforgettable.
Nov 30, 2014 Antwanette rated it it was amazing

I have heard and read this poem several times. I enjoy reading it because of the powerful language that Maya Angelou uses throughout it. She achieves this powerful language through imagery, detailed descriptions, slant rhyme, metaphors, and repetition. The terms phenomenal and phenomenal woman are repeated at the end of each stanza of the poem. This is a constant reminder to the reader that this poem is primarily about a phenomenal woman. The slant rhyme also adds power to the language. We can s
Sep 10, 2016 Claudia rated it really liked it
Great poetry. Outstanding and flirty writing. She's a wordsmith like no other. How many lessons Maya Angelou left us. She's marvellous!
Sauda Abdullah
Nov 30, 2014 Sauda Abdullah rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal Woman is a beautifully written poem by Maya Angelou. The poem speaks of the uniqueness of women and what makes her a phenomenal woman. Angelou incorporates metaphors well into her writing by using lines like "Then they swarm around me. A hive of honey bees" and "the flash of my teeth." She also uses comeback lines and repeats "I'm a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That's me." I loved reading this poem and experiencing Angelou's use of subtly rhymes that didn't over power the me ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
- Phenomenal Woman

A short, very short collection of Maya Angelou's poetry. Four poems, to be exact: "Phenomenal Woman", "Still I Rise", "Weekend Glory", and "Our Grandmothers". All of which are, as the
Anita Heath
Oct 15, 2008 Anita Heath rated it liked it
Honestly, these poems were a bit hard to digest and some of them I couldn't really relate to. But the over all theme is one of women overcoming great odds and battling with reality and spirituality. It sheds light on the plight of the black slave women and gives a glimpse into their psyche.

Here is an excerpt from "Our Grandmothers"

"Centered on the world's stage,
she sings to loves and beloveds,
to her foes and detractors:
However I am perceived and deceived,
however my ignorance and conciets,
lay asi
Rebecca Grace
Nov 15, 2011 Rebecca Grace rated it really liked it
Maya Angelou is an amazing poet whose casual, musical style makes the reader almost feel as if they are hearing a song as opposed to reading a poem. In the poem "Phenomenal Woman," Angelou depicts a woman who is confident in her appearance and demeanor despite not being "built to suit a fashion model's size" or adhering to any stereotypical feminine ideals.

As an aspiring poet, I am constantly envious of Angelou's superb mastery of rhyme and meter, as well as her use of repetition. Her strong vo
Mar 02, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Maya Angelou is an American Treasure, whose voice uplifts and carries the spirit of all who hear it. As she says, "All of my work is meant to say, 'You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated,' In fact, the encountering may be the very experience which create the vitality and the power to endure." - As quoted in The Norton Anthology of African American Literature

Apr 28, 2010 Yolanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mother's Everywhere, of all walks of life. Enjoy and do you!
"It's in the reach of my arms, The span of my hips, The stride of my step,...Phenomenal Woman...That is me! : )
A phenomenal little book by a phenomenal woman to phenomenal women.
Kiley Stevenson
Dec 23, 2016 Kiley Stevenson rated it really liked it
Personal Response:
I really enjoyed this poem. It explained how personality means more than looks. I loved the message this poem gives.

Plot Summary:
The poem starts with her attacking all stereotypes on women. She explains how she doesn’t have a perfect body or a beautiful face, but somehow men still flock to her. Other women are baffled on why men are attracted to her. She says that it is the click in her step and the way she smiles that makes them want her. She explains that it is her confiden
Dec 30, 2016 Y. rated it it was amazing
I have nothing more to say then:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Nov 10, 2016 Domonique rated it liked it
Technically a 3.5 but I'm not a fan of rhyming schemes and, because I'm already familiar with the poems and was really only impressed by one (our grandmothers) I couldn't give it anything higher. still a great writer (obvs) and want to read more
Nov 22, 2016 BookHoarder77 rated it it was amazing
Simply amazing. Twenty-two pages of literary freedom. I read it out loud several times - made a big difference hearing the words rather than just reading them. A must-read for everyone - especially women.
Nov 24, 2016 Ayden rated it it was amazing
It's basically describing "Chen" חן
There was a time when I wouldn't understand how someone not pretty can get that attention. But I know now better.
Natalia Ferraz
Dec 22, 2016 Natalia Ferraz rated it really liked it
loved her first 2 poems
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My last post....Phenomenal Woman poem 2 4 Dec 08, 2014 07:01PM  
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Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, was an American poet, memoirist, actress and an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement. In 2001 she was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. Maya Angelou is known for her series of six autobiographies, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, (1969 which was n ...more
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Share This Book

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.”
“It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
More quotes…