So many words have been written about the poet, memoirist, script writer, activist, singer, actress Maya Angelou that I hesitate to add my lesser contribution. The tributes are intimidating and lyrical, except for the one in WaPo about M.A. as a gun owner.
Here goes, anyway.
I cannot remember the first time I read her work. It was almost certainly I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and almost certainly shortly after its publication in 1970. All I know is that Ms. Angelou has been in my life and on my shelves for all my adult life. Her output was astonishing considering all of her activities that didn’t involve writing. (See list above).
It is inconceivable that there will be no new take on rock, river, and tree; no more lilting, earthy voice; no more strong advocacy for the oppressed. But I know she will continue to be an inspiration for Oprah and for the rest of us still in need of the rock-solid image of a strong woman who will not back down.
Most of all I know I can turn to her words as I need them. And at the moment I’m savoring “Phenomenal Woman.”
I close with the words she wrote in her tribute to Nelson Mandela: “We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.”
RIP, Maya Angelou. You will live on in your daughters.