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The Complete Collected Poems

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  14,489 ratings  ·  666 reviews
For the first time, the complete collection of Maya Angelou's published poems-including "On the Pulse of Morning"-in a permanent collectible, handsome hardcover edition. ...more
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published September 13th 1994 by Random House (first published February 1st 1994)
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May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
What is it like to be a woman of colour with brilliant intellectual and linguistic power? Is it a blessing, is it a curse, is it both at the same time? Isn't it just being human, in the end?

Maya Angelou's poems have accompanied my teaching for a very long time. Her direct, honest words fit any human rights discussions, any debates on racism and misogyny, any reflections on the distribution of wealth and power, privilege and entitlement. Her hopes and fears, her dreams and nightmares are the stu
Nandakishore Mridula
What I like about poetry is that it is never completely "read". Like the Akshaya Patra ("Inexhaustible Vessel") in the Indian Epic Mahabharata, which keeps on delivering food no matter how many times one approaches it, a poetry book will keep on supplying food for the intellect. In every new reading of a favourite poem, you will find something fresh to appreciate.

I read this book by Maya Angelou after I finished the first part of her biography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, because I was impr
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
It would be nice to get hold of this volume - I'm sure it would be just fabulous.

But I have just read the poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. (Which came first, the book or the poem?) here

I didn't find the book angry in most parts - although given Angelou's life experiences she had a right to be.

But this poem is very angry - as Angelou had a right to be. It is also powerful and emotional and I really loved it. 5★
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry

Lovely poetry.
I've just loved throughout all poems encrypted so greatly with deep emotions.
An incredible piece of poems.
What a catastrophic selection of words.

Some Good lines-
"I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike"

"I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy"

"Life is too busy, wearying me.
Questions and answers and heavy thought.
I've subtracted and added and multiplied,
Brown Girl Reading
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I ordered this book the day I heard about the death of Maya Angelou. this beautiful hard cover book was delivered the very next day in which I dropped all of my other reading, The Good Lord Bird, to experience the world of poetry by Maya Angelou. What a wonderful book filled with some of her most popular poems like Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise, but also of lesser know poems which should have a place along side the popular ones. These poems are varied in themes about relationships, family, l ...more
Such a beautiful and heartfelt read. My favorite poem had to be Still I Rise, my favorite line being: "You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise." Maya is such an inspirational and captivating woman and I'm so happy to have read her some of her work. I plan to read more soon and have more of Maya in my life. :) ...more
The Detached

We die,

Welcoming Bluebeards to our darkening closets,
Stranglers to our outstretched necks.

Stranglers, who neither care nor
care to know that


We pray,

Savoring sweet the teedhed lies,
Bellying the grounds before alien gods

Gods, who neither know nor
wish to know that


We love ,

Rubbing the nakednesses with gloved hands
Inverting our mouths in tongued kisses,

Kisses that neither thouch nor
care to touch if

Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
His lidless eye slid sideways,
and he rose into my deepest
yearning, bringing
gifts of ready rhythms, and
hourly wound around
my chest,
holding me fast in taut
Then, glistening like
diamonds strewn
upon a black girl's belly,
he left me. And nothing
remains. Beneath my left
breast, two perfect identical punctures,
through which I claim
the air I breathe and
the slithering sound of my own skin
moving in the dark.

**I've had this collection for three years and somehow at the end of each year, I've always
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gentleness and roughness, beauty and ugliness, happiness and sorrow, brightness and darkness -what a bitter-sweet heart touching flow of words are all these poems!
"Soft grey ghosts crawl up my sleeve
to peer into my eyes
while I within deny their threats
and answer them with lies.

Mushlike memories perform
a ritual on my lips
I lie in stolid hopelessness
and they lay my soul in strips."

when you spread your pallet
of magic,
I escaped.
Sitting apart,
I saw you grim an
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Actual rating, 3.7 stars. I loved most of the poems in this collection but a few of them just didn't click with me probably because I wasn't familiar with the sociocultural contexts within. ...more
SheriC (PM)
I rarely read poetry because I have difficulty connecting with it. But this collection, on audio, is performed by the author herself, and hearing it in her own voice is profoundly moving. It gave me the opportunity to experience some of her less widely known work. Some of my favorites:
Sounds Like Pearls
Poor Girl
On Reaching Forty

I was also delighted to hear her actually sing parts of several spirituals that were the inspiration for the poem she wrote for Clinton’s inauguration.

Audiobook v
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were a few poems and stanzas that really stood out to me, but in general I'm not a poetry person. I picked this up because it has "Still I Rise" in it and I absolutely fell in love with that poem my senior year of college. Some others that really stood out to me:

"Take Time Out," especially:
feel some sorrow
for the folks
who think tomorrow
is a place that they
can call up
on the phone.
Take a month
and show some kindness
for the folks
who thought that blindness
was an illness that
affected eyes alone.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Some of my favorite lines..

- Of all the beautiful words she has penned, I cannot get this out of my head.
Dawn offers
Innocence to a half-mad city.

-This one is just...
This bed yawns
beneath the weight
of our absent selves.

-And then we have this:
Make room for me
to lead and follow
beyond this rage of poetry.

The poems she writes on black violence and black history is poignant and gut wrenching. This is a fantastic collection with most of her popular works collected in one place.
Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you’ve heard me crying,
and admit you’ve seen my tears.

Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb in my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Wanda Lea Brayton
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
She came to my college to give a lecture. Unfortunately, as I was the night circulation supervisor in the library, I couldn't go. But - my favorite literature teacher, Helen Cullins Smith (who was the lady responsible for Ms. Angelou's coming) gave her the poem I'd been inspired to write...Helen came into the library the next day and gave me an announcement that Maya had said "Wanda Lea — Write On!" I'm still reading her works. ...more
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
If you want wonder, beauty, insight, stimulation, inspiration, rhythm and rhyme, language that shines . . . then this one's for you. If you've never read Angelou, please do. If you've never seen a poet, a guru, a Goddess speak, please do. If you've never been inspired, enlivened by the spirit of humankind, that which goes beyond the bounds of the mundane, lifeless, work-a-day world, please do. Get this book, and as Red in Shawshank Redemption states, "You got to either get to living or get to dy ...more
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breathe, Brother,
and displace a moment’s hate with organized love.

Still I Rise is one of my favorite poems. Watch her reciting it here, it will melt your heart:
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Maya Angelou writes with rhythm, verve, anger, celebration, sexiness. Her poetry is measured, balanced, and rhymed, and it carries the music of her spirit. Whether defiant, empowering, confrontational, sensual, or accepting, each poem is an anthem.

Personal favourites include Caged Bird, Preacher Don't Send Me, On Working White Liberals, Still I Rise, and Equality.

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and marking
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I hold Maya Angelou as an icon in my mind, a source of wisdom and grace. This collection also reminds me that she was a brilliantly passionate, even angry, black woman. I was sometimes uncomfortable, often moved, driven to read lines two or three times and always, always in awe. That's good poetry.

Plus, my very favorite Angelou one-liner:
Does my sassiness upset you?
A beautiful collection of poems by the wonderful and amazing poet, the late Maya Angelou.
There is really nothing else that needs said.
Rheama Heather
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gravitate towards people who’ve been through some shit. No offense if your life is perfectly pleasant. But women like Maya Angelou? She lived fully, and she knew things.

Five stars. Not because I love every single poem, but because the ones I do love are just ... I have no words. My jaw kept dropping open, and I couldn’t believe I made it through my whole life thus far WITHOUT that poem.

There are the usual suspects - Still I Rise, Caged Bird, Phenomenal Woman, On Aging. But so much more. Preach
Maya Angelou's presence overpowers her writing for me. I've only seen a handful of film interviews and readings, but her voice, delivery, and sheer persona are electric. Thus, having the words stripped of this physical presence felt a bit like a letdown. You can't really hold that against a writer. This is a lot of poetry packed in to one volume and it felt like the quantity watered down the quality of more than a handful of true gems (which probably could be said of mostly any large "complete" ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
*Favorite poems:

In a Time
Song for the Old Ones
Phenomenal Woman
Still I Rise
A Good Woman Feeling Bad
Unmeasured Tempo
Caged Bird
Weekend Glory
Charlotte Guzman
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Maya Angelou and was so sad when she past away.
I don't read poetry usually but loved Maya Angelou's work and loved hearing her when she recited her work.
While reading this I could image Ms. Angelou reciting it in her beautiful deep voice that had so much character to it.
A range of subjects from rights of a people a gender to spiritual beliefs.
Ankit Solanki
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-college
Since the beginning of the collective conscience of mankind, even before we discovered how to write and read, humans have always expressed feelings in the form of words flowing in rhythm or should I say poetry.

Maya Angelou has a sense of sudden sentimental tenderness, her words will make you part of the situation within a second. Her poem doesn't consist of words, it consists of a manipulative stream of soft strokes. This book engulfs a complete collection of her poems and it has been absolutely
The first poem I read of Maya Angelou was in Global Literature in 10th grade, when we read "Phenomenal Woman." The powerful literary devices used, especially repetition, made it one of my favorite poems. I was happy when I saw the same poem in this collection of Angelou's poems. The book contains poems on a variety of topics, but I believe Angelou is a feminist writer, and therefore writes poems empowering women. She also includes unforgettable poems that rhyme, deal with past family issues, and ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
As with all collections, my rating refers to my overall impression, an informal average. In this set of poems, I found several which I loved for the rhythym & rhyme, several others I loved for the content. Others I found stirred up my feelings, which I admire and are powerful but disturbing. Only a few left me uninterested.

I would strongly recommend this poetry, especially to women. Angelou has a strong feminist voice as well as a voice for African-Americans. She captures the anger as well as th
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I have read many, if not all her prose autobiographies, I discovered through this poetry that I did not know Maya Angelou at all. She was far more passionate, sensual and angry than I expected. Some poems were marvelous some I really did not understand and it was an education to read them all.
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I don't own many poetry books, but this is one of the few and a rare jewel among them. My favorite poem is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, since it's meaning is different for whoever reads it. ...more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good, some bad. Or maybe it was more a case of some okay, some bloody amazing. I'd recommend reading those from 'And Still I Rise' and go from there. ...more
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Poetry Reading: 3rd Poetry Book Read, 2018: Maya Angelou 1 1 Apr 04, 2018 10:47AM  
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #34 - Poems by Maya Angelou 1 2 Feb 28, 2015 09:54AM  

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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 ...more

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Caged Bird

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”
“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” 353 likes
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