What Does Maya Angelou Still I Rise Mean

Maya Angelou’s phenomenal poem “Still I Rise” is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. It is a reminder that even though life is often filled with suffering and difficulties, we still possess the ability to rise up and overcome them. The poem begins with the lines: “Out of the huts of history’s shame, I rise,” clearly showing Ms. Angelou’s unwavering belief that no matter our background or the prejudices of history, we have the power to keep on rising and reaching new heights.

The poem goes on to emphasize the power of human resilience in overcoming difficult circumstances, asserting that we can still “laugh with the wind” and that we can have a lot of strength in our “blood”. In the third stanza, the poem explores the concept of legacy and legacy-building, encouraging readers to look at the past and using it as a source of strength and inspiration rather than letting it keep them chained down.

The fourth stanza of the poem talks about taking control over our fate, and how even if we may be “battered by the storms of life” we can still bring ourselves out from the abyss by our own power and perseverance. In many ways, this stanza encourages us to take personal responsibility for our lives, and to understand that ultimately, our own choices can make all the difference.

The last part of the poem is perhaps the most uplifting. Here, Angelou declares that we are all holders of incredible strength, the strength to “bring back our schools,” “rise up,” and “soar.” In many ways, these closing lines of the poem invite readers to be mindful of their own inner power, and to know that they are capable of great things no matter what hardships they have faced in their lives.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and our ability to overcome adversity through our own inner strength and will. It is a reminder to look at our past and use it as a source of strength, and that ultimately, we have the power to rise up and make our own futures, no matter what is happening around us.


The poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou explores many powerful themes throughout its verses. One of the most recurring themes is the idea of resilience and strength in the face of suffering. This theme is explored through Angelou’s words in the poem, which encourages us to look at even the most difficult of circumstances as an opportunity to learn and grow, and use it as fuel to strive for better things in our own lives.

Another major theme of “Still I Rise” is that of legacy-building and taking personal responsibility for our fate. This is highlighted in many of the poem’s verses, emphasizing the importance of learning from the past and looking at how we can use our choices to create a better future for ourselves and for those we love.

The poem also focuses on the power of self-belief and taking control of one’s own future, with many of its opening lines imploring readers to look at the darkness of the past and instead channel it into a source of strength and inspiration. The closing lines of the poem are especially encouraging, urging readers to look at their own inner power and strive to create something beautiful out of the ashes.


The symbolism in Maya Angelou’s powerful poem “Still I Rise” is incredibly vivid and integral to the poem’s overall message. The most notable symbol featured in the poem is that of a phoenix, which is referenced in many of the verses and serves as a reminder of the power of self-renewal and overcoming adversity. The poem says: “I rise, I rise, I rise,” which alludes to the imagery of the phoenix, who sacrifices itself in flames only to be reborn from the ashes and fly towards the sky.

The image of the phoenix is echoed in the idea of rising up from the ashes and the power of self-renewal, which is one of the main concepts of the poem. It is a reminder that even in the most difficult of times, we still have the ability to rise up and overcome our hardships. The poem’s imagery is also reflective of the power of legacy-building, which is something that Angelou emphasizes in her poem.

Apart from the image of the phoenix, the poem also features many other symbols, such as the sea and the wind. These symbols allude to the idea of resilience and strength, as both the sea and the wind have the power to shape the world around them in their own special ways. They are symbols of hope and of the power of mother nature to shape our own destinies.


The style of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” is an interesting mix of powerful words and imagery. The poem is written in a conversational style, with frequent use of metaphor and alliteration to bring the poem’s message to life. One example of the poem’s use of alliteration is the line “Bowed head and lowered eyes”, which provides a vivid image of the speaker’s humility.

The tone of the poem is quite uplifting and is filled with a sense of power and strength in the face of adversity. As the poem progresses, the tone of the poem shifts from one of sorrow and suffering to one of hope and power as the speaker finds her own voice and strength. Moreover, the poem also features an abundance of imagery, which provides a vivid representation of the poem’s central themes.

The poem also features a lot of repetition and parallel structure, which provides a rhythmic flow to the poem. The poem’s structure is perhaps one of its most powerful features, as the various verses come together to form a powerful tapestry of resilience and hope.


The poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou is an incredibly powerful and inspirational work. Throughout its verses, the poem paints a vivid picture of resilience and strength in the face of adversity, emphasizing the idea that no matter what hardships we are faced with in life, we can still find the power within ourselves to rise up and create something beautiful out of the ashes. The poem also highlights the importance of taking control of our own futures, and understanding the power of legacy-building, which can provide us with a foundation for a better future.

In terms of its style, the poem features a lot of repetition, imagery and alliteration, which serves to convey the poem’s message in a powerful way. The poem’s imagery provides a vivid representation of its themes, while the alliteration and repetition add for a powerful and uplifting flow throughout the poem. The poem is also structured in a very intentional way, with its verses slowly building up to the powerful confession of strength that it ends with.

In conclusion, Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” is an evocative and powerful poem that invites its readers to look within themselves and find the power to overcome hardship and move towards a brighter future. The poem is an uplifting reminder of the importance of taking control over our own destinies and of looking at the past not as a source of suffering, but rather as a source of strength and inspiration.

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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