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The Complete Collected Poems

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  7,034 Ratings  ·  213 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.
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published September 13th 1994 by Random House (first published 1986)
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Nandakishore Varma
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
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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: orchids, poetry
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
Tara Račić
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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.
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?
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
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
Claudia Putnam
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Sacrilegious to give this less than 5 stars, I know, but the problem is that the collection is a little too complete. It ranges from stunningly insightful, the hauntingly melodic, to the embarrassingly adolescent. And unfortunately, not all the adolescent stuff is that early:


The day hangs heavy
loose and grey
when you're away.

A crown of thorns
a shirt of hair
is what I wear.

No one knows
my lonely heart
when we're apart.

I don't care if this is about mooning over a missing lover or a loss of fait
This book is a collection of poems by Maya Angelou. I am reviewing the poem "Phenomenal Woman".

This is a poem that states how phenomenal women are. It describes how powerful women can appear to those around them. We can catch a man's attention by the way we walk into the room or the way we stand. It reminds us that we are phenomenal because we are strong, able to take care of so many other people, take care of our homes, our families yet able to have careers. Women are phenomenal because we can
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, read-2014
With the passing of Maya Angelou, I decided to read some of her work which somehow I had missed previously. I finished I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings earlier this summer and now I have finished The Complete Collected Poems. Like any collection of poems, there are some that I like better than others. Some of my favorites include:

Pickin Em Up and Layin Em Down
Poor Girl
Song for the Old Ones
Phenomenal Woman
One More Round
Amoebaean for Daddy
Human Family
When Old Folks Laugh

While Angelou will
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, read-in-2014
This is beautiful. Having read 'I know why the caged bird sings', I was interested in picking up some of Angelou's poetry, and chose this collection on the recommendation of my mother. Angelou's use of language and form is refreshing and striking, and her boldness in addressing topics such as race and sexism is admirable. My favourite poems came early on in the collection, and were mostly shorter pieces that seemed to give a snippet into Angelou's mind in a very relatable, lovely way, but the co ...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 a
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is truly a wonderful book that is good for the soul. I had read many of Maya Angelou's books before, so had read many of the poems before. Yet, as I read through them all with this reading -- in less than a day -- I found myself once again inspired, moved, touched, and so much more. I am sure I will return and read this book a few more times.
Susan Botich
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Angelou's poems are like songs that tell passionate, personal stories. She speaks with depth and intimacy. She uses the vernacular of black American heritage to reveal ourselves to us, our humanness, in all its frightening, shameful, mysterious and wonderful aspects. Powerful and involving.
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The spirit of love that is entrenched in her desire for social change is always a breath of fresh air.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, poetry
A poem by Maya Angelou anytime is a fine good read. Very now and then I like to take a big huge dose of her great work.
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.
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.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I think the book is much better than what I gave it credit for. However, I had a hard time understanding a lot of the poems and therefore I couldn't like it as much. But the ones I understood were great!
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, poetry
Stunning and hauntingly beautiful collection of poetry. Maya Angelou was truly an amazing woman.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel that Maya Angelou is the female Langston Hughes--and for a new generation. There's that same rhythm, the same flair, the same knowing. Of course, all poets want to be their own voice, and she really is that. It's just that some of her things have a Hughes quality to them.

There are masterful poems throughout the book. A few of my favorites are "Late October" with its gently reflective cast, the impatient "The Telephone," and "He Went Home." There are too many wonderful poems to count. Many
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Kim. E.
Maya Angelou was an incredible woman to me, one who spoke to truth every time she had the opportunity to meet another human being. My favorite poem in this collection is Phenomenal Woman, but there are poems that would touch anyone. I will be adding this creation to my library in the future in order to continue hearing Miss Angelou's voice in my ear. What a gift she has, and continues to be to this world.
Willy Akhdes
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it

When you come to me, unbidden,
Beckoning me
To long-ago rooms,
Where memories lie.

Offering me, as to a child, an attic,
Gatherings of days too few,
Bauble of stolen kisses,
Trinkets of borrowed loves,
Trucks of secret words,

I cry.
Stephanie Kapllani
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Maya Angelou has always been one of my biggest heroes as her beautiful words have helped mend my heart through the years. Her recent passing away made me go back to these beautiful poems and although I admit there are some of them I really can't relate to as I've never had to go through the same sufferings as she has, they're nonetheless very soul-moving.

Some of my favorites from her are Africa, America, Remembering, In a Time, When I Think About Myself, We Saw Beyond Our Seeming, Passing Time,
Why I Read This Book:
I have read this book on a frequent basis since I was 15 years old. My Grandmother bought this for me because I was in love with poetry and with Maya Angelou’s work. After all these years, my book is still in excellent shape. I pick it up and read various pieces from it several times a year. With the recent passing of Maya Angelou, I picked it up again.

The book is a nice, hefty, collection of Maya Angelou’s poems. I’ve had this collection for almost 20 years and I ne
W.M. Driscoll
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
What to say about the poet and author Marguerite Ann Johnson, a.k.a the sublime Maya Angelou? Like other larger than life figures, she has filled many roles for many people over the years and worn many hats, literary and otherwise, but it is my intention here to limit the scope of my comments to the poet and her poetry, and what poetry it is! Some critics have sought to dismiss her poems for their popularity or performance aspects in favor of her other writings, which are considerable. This is a ...more
Jean Poulos
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou was published in 1994. When reading Maya Angelou’s poems I hear her voice in my head. When she read her poems she brought them to life for me. I love the rhythm and rhyme of her poems but also the story or narrative poems. Her poetry of slave and work songs she uses a personal narrative and emphases on the individual response to hardship, oppression and loss. She once said “Once I got into it I realized I was following a tradition established by Frede ...more
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm not one to rush and get a writer's work after they die, and this hasn't been exactly the case with Maya Angelou either. At a certain time of my life, I met her poetry- thanks to the Internet, literary anthologies, and so on. I only read a few of her poems, probably the most popular ones- PHenomenal Woman, Alone, and others- but they really were very important to me: I was undergoing a depression and the strength and power of her poetry helped me a lot.
When she died, I was reminded of all t
Maria Ch
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Maya Angelou writes simple, like one talks, like one thinks, like one feels. She writes out of memory, out of experience, out of fear, hope, happiness, but ultimately her poems are real and you can identify with them no matter what your skin colour, ethnic background, age, gender, sexuality.(at least i assume you can)I am glad i read this collection again and i cant wait to reread it in a few years time just to see my experience and reaction to these poems as i grow older, because the notes i to ...more
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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.”
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” 101 likes
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