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The Complete Collected Poems

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  12,365 ratings  ·  469 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 February 1st 1994)
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 ·  12,365 ratings  ·  469 reviews

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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 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
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
Richard Cardenas
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. :)
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
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*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
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-lit
Angelou is a first-rate autobiographer, and a mediocre poet, though a fine aloudreader and stage presence in an era when even Obama's first inaugural poet had no idea how to aloudread her own poem. Angelou fulfills the limited popular American (Romantic) idea of a poet--one who talks, ad infinitum, about oneself and one's problems (or in Angelou's case, problems over which she triumphs*). We are still stuck in the Romantic period, two centuries after Wordsworth and Coleridge (then Keats and She ...more
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
Rachel | rach.b.reads
So I must admit I am not a huge poetry lover. I have always found it difficult to connect with poetry the way I do with a story in prose. However, in an attempt to challenge myself, I decided to commit to reading at least one volume of poetry this year and I am glad that I chose Dr. Maya Angelou's book.

Despite me not loving poetry, I can't help but admire how Angelou is able to express herself through words. The language she uses is so evocative. I appreciated the role imagery played in making
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
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: read-2014, poetry
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 as th
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.
Collett Michelle
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.
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.
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Poetry Reading: 3rd Poetry Book Read, 2018: Maya Angelou 1 1 Apr 04, 2018 10:47AM  
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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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114 likes · 45 comments
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.” 349 likes
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