Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women
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Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women

4.55 of 5 stars 4.55  ·  rating details  ·  2,557 ratings  ·  99 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 X
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,
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...
ALiStAiR (aLiBi)
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.
Jun 18, 2013 Tania rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tania by: Sonja Arlow
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.
I used to walk around quoting Phenomenal Women while thrusting out my hips to one side, throwing out my arms with my hands in what I thought were sophisticated poses(one higher than the other, and puckering my lips. I realize now that this must have been extremely annoying to all those forced to witness it.
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

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...more
Amber Lewis
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...more
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....more
Anita Heath
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...more
Rebecca Grace
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...more
Kristina Moss
"Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women" by Maya Angelou is such a great read. This book consists of four heartfelt and powerful poems that are each crafted in a uniquely way. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves poetry and simply for all women because its so inspiring.The author does a great job capturing the true essence and dignity of woman from all walks of life. Maya Angelou does a great job using the writing craft of voice and imagery in her works. For instan...more
Tiffany Wideman
Phenomenal Woman is a poem that I have always heard about. Now that I am older it means so much more to read it and think about what Maya Angelou is actually saying. This poem could be a great mentor text to teach up and coming writers about voice and poetry. First and foremost Maya Angelou writes in a tone that speaks to a woman's values. It is a tone that makes a woman feel good inside and out. It reflects how a person defines there own beauty. The voice used is so strong and powerful and refl...more
Leah Sidell
A Clear Voice of Reminding Woman to Love Themselves and Have Strength

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 hi...more
Kaylan Nurse
Phenomenal woman, that's me...
Maya Angelou has always inspired me through her poems. She definitely uses voice in a strong matter everything her pen meets her paper, and words roll off of her lips. She has the voice of a warrior or survivor. A strong figure. Phenomenal woman is definitely a poem I would use when doing a mini lesson on building community. Even though it is geared towards women, I would flip into a away my male students could make it masculine and strong, then have the class shar...more
Apr 28, 2010 Yolanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
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! : )
Tywanna Robb
Phenomenal Woman By: Maya Angelou is known to be classic poem in literature. In fact, it is one of her most popular pieces. I absolutely loved this poem. It was very descriptive in nature. While reading this poem, a major component of writing stuck out to me, and that was the authors voice, which Fletcher describes in chapter 5. As you read this poem, it is easy to see the personality of the writer coming through the words. It may not be the voice of Maya Angelou in particular, but she captured...more
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


Wow, I did not expect this. This was truly horrible. I am surprised. I remember reading and liking this author years ago, and it came as a shock to read this. It felt like she wrote the entire thing in 10 minutes. I don't expect this from a published author, especially one as widely published as Angelou. As both a writer and consumer of poetry, I have to say this is one volume I would never recommend.
Agbonmire Ifeh
This slim collection contains the very popular "still I rise" and "phenomenal woman" And if you want a quick Maya Angelou's poetry for dummies come here. Not that the poems are dumbed down, no, rather you get to see the best from her ink. I also enjoyed "Weekend Glory" serves a a blueprint on how to live your life.
Sonja Arlow
I bought this book for one of the most phenomenal women I know and by now she has received it as a birthday gift so I can post my review.

Somehow I stumbled upon a review of this collection on GR and it stuck with me. So much so that I blindly went and bought 2 copies of this book without even cracking open the spine….

It’s a pity there are only 4 poems as I really enjoyed this new experience which is a celebration of women regardless of race, creed, or colour. I am sure this short but powerful...more
Words with no end

Words with no end

great works of wisdom and courage. it makes u embrace life. god speed my beautiful queen mother!! god speed until we all get to heaven!
Nice book of poetry by Maya Angelou. For such a small book and only four poems it contains a huge amount of wisdom and womanhood. Lovely!
(#Booktubeathon 2014 - genre I've read the least this year.)
Bindiya Panicker
This book is literally like my best friend... a book i go to when i am happy, sad, insecure or any feeling. I have no words to express how brilliant Maya is.
3.5 Stars, this was my first collection of poems by Maya Angelou and I will definitely read more from her!
I so love this poem, how empowering and i always feel gorgeous afterwards. Thank you Maya Angelou xx
May 31, 2014 Yuki rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
"Phenomenal Woman"
"Still I Rise"
"Weekend Glory"
"Our Grandmothers"
I don't generally read poetry, but these poems are perfect.
Strong, powerful, sassy, and inspiring. I absolutely love Maya Angelou.
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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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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings The Heart of a Woman  Letter to My Daughter Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now Gather Together in My Name

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…