A Poem From Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s poem, ‘Phenomenal Woman’ is an incredible body of work, depicting the inner beauty and strength of a woman in a entire different light. Through her sharply crafted use language, Angelou effortlessly paints an incredibly powerful portrait of female empowerment. From its grandiose, feel-good opening line to its message of strength in over adversity, Angelou?s poem is an ode to the power of the feminine spirit.

Angelou begins her poetic journey with a bold, expressive proclamation of a woman?s power, claiming that ?Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.? The first stanza is full of sly boasting, as Angelou asserts her strength and beauty while managing to remain modest. This sets the tone for her poem, as she outlines the truly unique traits that sets each and every woman apart from the rest.

The poem moves naturally from the big picture of female power to more specific images, such as ?the grace of my manners.? Here, Angelou is expressing her great poise, gracing her with a certain level of strength and elegance. From there, Angelou paints a portrait of a confident and strong woman, asserting that, ?in the cirlces of my friends, I am the Wonder, I have mystified a million?. Through these simple and captivating phrases, Angelou expresses her strength but yet conveys her vulnerability.

The various tones that linger throughout this poem, from ?the wearing my scarf with a private clay? to ?the arch of my back, the sun of my smile?, are all carefully woven together to form one beautiful and appealing image. It’s here where she pulls the poem together, giving it a strong conclusion that reiterates the power of the woman.

Through her metaphor and bold imagery, Maya Angelou’s poem takes the topic of female self-empowerment to a new level. By using vivid words and powerful statements, she jumps to new heights in an area of literature that has long been home to the feminine spirit.

The Confidence of a Woman

The poem is often seen as a fight cry to grasping the confidence of a woman. From the outset of the poem, Angelou asserts that she has a secret that everyone must see, ?Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.? This is Angelou’s way of conveying that even with her phenomenal strength, she is still capable of being both vulnerable and strong.

Angelou goes on to say that ?it’s in the arch of my back, the sun of my smile,? illustrating an innate sense of self-assurance and radiance which is crucial to understanding her poem and the world of female empowerment.

Her next lines subtly emphasise the importance of having a good sense of self-esteem, ?the ripple of my hair, the pal of my cheeks, the beauty of the woman I?ve been making.? Here, Angelou conveys an inherent need in every woman’s heart to appreciate her individuality and recognize her own beauty without having external validation.

Angelou further emphasizes the importance of appreciate oneself ?I?m a women, phenomenally.? The closing lines of this stanza convey a powerful message: As individuals, it is of upmost importance to practice self-love and appreciate oneself, despite the waves of societal pressure that wash over so many women.

The importance of Female Empowerment

In Angelou’s work, the theme of female empowerment is explored in great detail. She emphasizes that pride as a woman should not have to have come with fragile limits, asserting with confidence that ?I?m the wonder, I?ve mystified a million.?

This powerful statement serves to remind women that there are no boundaries to achieving their inner strength and greatness, despite what society may tell them. Angelou articulates this wonderfully in saying that the ?the wondering stop and they say, how did she come over hardships.? This is her way of conveying the strength and grace of women in the face of different issues.

Angelou’s poem also expresses the idea of female togetherness. Her words go as far as to claim that a woman?s beauty can be a source of community, rather than a source of competition, saying that strong women ?walk in a room with a joy that’s so contagious, everyone can become the greatness of a woman.?

These powerful words of Angelou speak of the solidarity of women and the power of sisterhood. Through her words, Angelou every woman that even when faced with immense adversity, it is still possible to be strong and to appreciate the inner beauty of others.

The Poetry through Persona

Angelou achieves her goals best when reading her poetry from a persona, showcasing the development of her own individuality and power. By using a persona, Angelou speaks to the generations of women that come before and after her, echoing the feelings of each and every woman.

The poem states that ?my tongue, every atom of my blood, form for other features, furnish to my own,? depicting how every woman is an entirely different human being that carries her own unique individualities and experiences.

Each feel, touch, thought, scent, idea and emotion had by a woman is an act of individual power particularly in Angelou?s words ?I’d rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow.? Her words here emphasise the feeling of empowerment, as each atom of her being glows with their own greatness and strength.

Angelou further emphasizes the importance of expressing oneself by saying that ?no, deadline can arraignment my lips, and my eyes. By firmly speak, she conveys the need for each woman to stand behind her words and her thoughts. Through her use of persona, Angelou continues to encourage the practise of female self-expression and acceptance, despite the ever growing pressures of modern society.

The Relationships of Women

In her poem, Angelou places a prominent emphasis on the importance of relationships between women. She claims that ?I’m a woman, phenomenally,? touching on her belief that the relationships between women can be the key to collective growth and power.

She moves on to touch on the subject of female bonds, saying that ?women admire me, cause I’m a rose of sharon, a lily of the valley.? Here, Angelou conveys the idea that either of these flowers can be admired alone but as a part of a garden, they can really come to life. The same is true for each individual woman ? together, they can achieve something great.

Angelou then ends her poem with an affirmation of sisterhood ? it’s the joy of her crowd, and the joy of her friends, celebrating their womanhood together. In a stunning display of wordplay and emotion, Angelou brings her poem to a Close with a wonderfully triumphant and empowering ending.

All in all, Angelou?s poem ‘Phenomenal Woman’ is a must-read for any woman who is still searching for her own voice and power. Through her use of vivid imagery and secretive metaphors, Angelou invokes a sense of self-empowerment and strength, encapsulating the beauty of the feminine spirit.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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