International Journal of English Research


ISSN: 2455-2186

Vol. 2, Issue 2 (2016)

Rising from the Dust: A Study of Maya Angelou’s Poetry

Author(s): Dr. Darshana Trivedi
Abstract: The true African-American Renaissance occurredrnduring the last quarter of the twentieth century with the rise of subalternrntheory and post-colonial theory. The impact of African American artisticrnproduction on American and world culture is significant in the fields of films,rntelevision, theatre, music, painting and literature. The galaxy of greatrnAfrican American women writers like Toni Morrision, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou,rnRita Dove and many more have challenged the Euro centric, white dominant canonrnby creating their own tradition of literary writing. Tony Morrison became thernfirst African-American Nobel laureate in literature in 1983; Alice Walker’srntheory of womanism has created a space for other oppressed communities acrossrnthe globe. The institutionalization of African-American literature as subjectrnof academic inquiry ensured that these writers and their readers were keenlyrnaware of the tradition in which they worked. African American women’s writingrnis based on their suffering due to their class, race and gender. Though notrnadmitted in libraries or schools, they expressed themselves in a media allowedrnto them: cooking, gardening, story-telling and quilting. Contemporary African Americanrnwomen writers revised therefore mother’s stories in their writing to challengernthe patriarchal structure and thus decenter the center.rnThe present paper is an attempt to study MayarnAngelou’s poetry which received less critical attention than her autobiographies.rnThe career of Maya Angelou is a testament both to her vitality and power tornendure. She has expressed her talents as dancer, singer, producer, composer,rnjournalist, actor, teacher as well as writer. Chosen by President Bill Clintonrnto read at his inauguration on Jan, 21 1993 Angelou was both the first womanrnpoet to be so honoured. Her poetry addresses social and political issuesrninvolving African American and challenges the validity of traditional Americanrnvalues and myths. She also describes African-American women’s experiences andrnprotest against the gender codes of American society by celebratingrnAfrican-American women’s self- respect. The tone of her poetry is optimistic,rnand confident. Through her writing she spreads the message of love, hope,rnsisterhood and peace across the globe by singing, “I am the dream and the hopernof slave. I rise”.rn 
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