I fell in love with Maya Angelou when I first heard her recite “Phenomenal Woman”, a poem is celebration of women, and how confidence can make even the plainest of women make men turn heads. Sample a few lines that made me fall in love with Maya’s writing;
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I listened to the CD over and over in my car, until it got too scratched and tired, that is.

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

Then I bumped into “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in one of those “Bend Over” street bookshops and was completely toast.
“The Heart of a Woman” is the fourth volume of her autobiography, and is preceded by “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, “Gather Together In My Name” and “Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting’ Merry Like Christmas”, all beautiful , poetic accounts of her life.
She tells the story of her colourful life with the humour, grace and acceptance of imperfection that only she can. Like the title insinuates, she goes right into the heart of her “woman”: From romantic love, maternal love, heartbreak, domestic violence, racial discrimination, gender discrimination- No subject is taboo for this witty writer.
Her accounts of meeting famous characters like Billie Holiday, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X make for refreshing, interesting personal accounts of historical figures that the world adored.
The simple, conversational tone, a trademark of Maya’s writing, makes for an easy, down to earth read that men and women alike can relate to.