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Writers are Readers: “The Complete Collected Poems”

REVIEWER: Tom Hernandez

BOOK TITLE: “The Complete Collected Poems”

AUTHOR: Maya Angelou

GENERAL SYNOPSIS: Poetry spanning Dr. Angelou’s celebrated life and career.

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS: Simply put, this is one of a handful of books that changed my literary and personal life. Angelou’s poetry, even more than her autobiographical prose, is brave, candid, sensual – and bluntly sexual - and open in a way I had never seen before. Her descriptions of what it means to be a woman, and a Black woman, and a single mother, and a career woman, stopped me in my tracks. I had no idea that someone could write so openly about things so very painful and personal, and celebratory, all at the same time. Of course, many have followed in her sanctified footsteps (Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Nicki Giovanni) and many others) but none have quite captured the journey better than Dr. Angelou


It showed me that it was ok to be more open and honest in my writing about my personal experiences. My poetry still tends to be more “symbolic” than literal, but my essays show her impact.

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