Friday, February 18, 2011

Maya Angelou / Still I Rise

Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

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.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise.


  1. I consider Maya Angelou as a charming and inspiring woman, it is so important for me having the opportunity to read a poem such as “Still I rise”. In this beautiful masterpiece, Maya Angelou gives us a window into her creativity. Many of her life experiences are revealed in her words; the style of the author lets the readers get caught up in her emotions and reflections. The life of this wonderful woman was really terrible and frustrating, but she could understand the real sense of the life and so that leaving her legacy to humanity.

    Regarding the poem, I think it has a special message for us, the author wrote it in order to make us reflect, face the problems and change the way we are towards others. The author also provided a background of the racial matter and the consequences it brought. I love poetry and I consider that each single piece has a special, unique and valuable message, poetry is a teacher for those who find the way to interpret and understand it.

    To conclude, I would say that this fantastic poem inspired me to be who I want no matter what other people think also it is important to understand that I have to live my life how I want. Finally, I wish I could have the strength this singular woman had.

  2. "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

    Most of Angelou's autobiographies, volumes of poetry and literary works treat resoluteness and freedom topics. “Still I Rise” is one of them, a poem which focuses on a hopeful determination to rise above difficulty and discouragement. For me, the poet’s purpose was to encourage and inspire people, especially the oppressed ones to rise to fight against the injustices and the prejudices of society to continue to live despite all the difficulties and limitations.

    I really loved several aspects of this poem. First, the symbolism and imagery that Angelou used to express her feelings. For instance, the recurring rhetorical questions: “Does my sassiness upset you?”, “Does my haughtiness offend you?” and “Does my sexiness offend you?” these were cleverly provocative, and were undoubtedly addressed to the white people, Angelou's oppressors. Second, the literary figures; for example, the metaphor of dust rising fit perfectly to the message that Angelou wanted to share; I remembered when I read the first stanza, I imagined an avenging ghost hunting the slaves' oppressors, the dust represented the slaves’ voices rising with determination and bravery to make a point: “We will not allow them mistreat us any longer, we will overcome oppression”, that was the defiance of the downtrodden. Third, the rhythm was essential to convey the poet's message; in this case, the repetition of words was heavily stressed in the poem; specifically “Still I Rise” gave a clue to the overall meaning of the poem: It does not matter how many obstacles we will face in our lives, we will be able to conquer. Finally, the speaker’s mood, there was a mixture on her voice, starting with a sassy tone who defied the oppressors, showing her confidence; to a cynical and determined tone, a woman’s voice making a stance, defending her convictions.

    Generally speaking, Maya was a brilliant writer, a fierce poet, and a truly phenomenal woman. Although she went through dreadful experiences throughout her life, for instance, her rape in childhood; she overcame this and continued to live for herself and her family. She transmitted her voice through her writings with such inspiring strength that many people can see a part of Angelou in themselves; I believe that Angelou’s poem was unquestionably triumphant, she was responding to decades of oppression describing how brutal she was treated and how she endured it and at the end, she overcame it. It taught me that no matter how down we might feel, we can always stand up again and get back on the road.

  3. Still I Rise

    Maya Angelou was a woman of many talents. She was born in Missouri, but since she was a little child and during most of her life, she lived in Arkansas where she experienced the magnitude of the racial segregation which was so radical that black children had never seen a white person. When she was three years old her parents got divorced and she was sent with her brother to their grandmother home, so it was in that moment she started experiencing hard situations. At the age of eight she went back to live with her mother where she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend; that experience was so traumatic for her that she wasn’t able to speak after five years and a half when a teacher told her that the only way to really appreciate literature was to start talking again. Most of her works were autobiographies, an important genre in the Afro-American literature. She was also well known by her poetry, and one of her poems “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Die (1971)” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

    Continuing talking about Maya’s poetry, it is necessary to take as reference her poem “Still I rise”, in which she expressed her strength and her motivation to move on besides the bad moments she experienced in the past. She learnt to be strong since she was a child, she learnt how to live without having support and how to overcome the difficulties of being a black woman in a world dominated by white people and slavery. In that poem, she explained in a cynical tone and using metaphors that nobody prevented her of acting even though there were interdictions for her, she compared herself with the ocean because both of them are black and brave so nothing affected her.

    For me, Maya Angelou is an example, it is an inspiration, she was a successful woman who was able to overcome obstacles and to rise as many times as possible. Maya, in her poem “Still I rise” taught me to show my strength through my daily life, to not let me give up although the others think I am not able to act, to overcome myself and to show to everybody I can do anything I want. The only thing I need is to have self-confidence, to trust in my abilities and to understand I am valuable.