Words forum: Describing Maya Angelou...Aguane

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Mar 21, 2011 8:36 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Recently Susie (Aguane) was fortunate to attend a performance given by one of my favorite writers. We can call her a poet but that limits what she does, I think. Here's what Susie had to say:

Today I met Dr. Maya Angelou. I was fortunate to be in her audience at the Gammage Theatre in Temp, AZ (eighth row). I’ve read plenty of her books and followed her life experience. Living in San Francisco, CA I was hearing of her work and appearances all the time. She appeared in the area and on our PBS KQED often. She had a way of making sense of a changing world in the ‘60s. Weaving words and thoughts and feelings into poetry. She and Bob Dylan have an amazing beat. Maybe even then she possessed the wisdom she so beautifully shares with us now. Now, 40 years later, she is even more wise, defined, tough, like a rock.

I read an interview with her. The question asked was “how do you write a poem?” She responded that sometimes the poem tells you what to write and sometimes you write the poem. I think you’d need to read the interview and that passage to understand. Open the link below.


The performance (and it was billed as a performance) began with high energy, a cappella singing from a really talented youth group known as Broadway in the Hood based in Las Vegas, NV. A 501c3 group of about 20 performers that just rocked the auditorium with hymn and dance. Awesome, passionate youth.

Her look, her image: She is 6 foot tall, slim and strong and fit looking. The stage was well lit with what looked like nice incandescent light. Statuesque in an ivory silk-like slimming gown with a plunging V neck almost off the shoulders. A glimmering diamond on her right pinky finger and diamonds on her wedding band finger (I don’t know her status). Smooth looking white hair and SHADES, She mentioned early on that the stage lighting bothers her eyes.

She talked for about 2 hours and there were several standing ovations and many affirmations from the audience. The audience was made up mostly of women my age, some men, some children and yes, two poodles near the front rows. Several people brought there pre-teen children to see this exquisitely carved and brilliant woman of the world. Thank God!

Do you remember how she reads her poetry? Her big voice and resonance, the pace and calm? That’s how she speaks. She even sings that way. She can certainly sing! And she moves even though she was seated the entire performance.

“Rainbows in the Clouds”. This was the theme. She spoke of the influence you can have on a life and how that influence seeps and permeates into other lives where you may not even know. She used her own youth and people who influenced her and others she later came to know. She challenges us to spread our good influence. We’re all connected. And, then she talks about we Human Beings. Nothing else just Human Beings.

She read her poetry and that of several other poets whom she admires.

There was one very pronounced and poignant gesture from her, however. She travels with a woman she calls her “daughter”. She gave birth to only one child, her son. This is a woman very close to Maya. Maya said “my daughter thought I may want to share the Medal of Freedom [presented to her a few months ago by President Obama]. We all clapped. There was a wooden box on the table at her side. She very carefully opened the box (she has beautiful, large and graceful hands). She took the medal out of the box and said “here it is”, held it up about level with her face and let us bask in Her Glory. She shared with us what she was thinking when the president presented her with the award. All the way back to the slave ships coming to America, ships with Italians, Jews, Asians, Irish. Freedom. This is a huge honor. She returned the medal to it’s home, in the box, next to her on the table. For the next 1 ½ hours she kept at least one finger on the box lid. Removed her finger only a few times to gesture.

You can look at this woman and see absolute grace. In my view she is full of grace. A woman like Maya is not to be mistaken for a “nice lady”. I see a confident, tough, determined, well defined, challenging goddess with a message for all of humanity. I’m so happy to have seen this treasure.

Read her again and again.
Apr 26, 2011 7:40 PM CST
Name: Carol Noel
Hawaii (near Hilo)
It's all about choices.
Beautiful...how lucky you are ...no, not 'lucky'...FORTUNATE is a better word, I think, to have that experience...and thank you so much for letting us share it too. I have always had that 'perception' of her...how she would gesture, how her voice would sound.... I tip my hat to you.
Leap. The net will appear.
Apr 26, 2011 9:21 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Glad to share my few hours with Maya, Carol. She is awesome and so inspiring and she hasn't had an easy life. She had a good mentor who told her early on that her voice would be her strength and success.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
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