I really didn’t think I was going to have a classic for March. I made it most of the way through the month happily reading away and being entirely unorganised, as I mentioned in my March Wrap Up. Last day of the month, I was thinking I’d have to miss one, but I spotted this volume of poetry by Maya Angelou on my shelf and just dove in. It might have been a quick read for me, but it doesn’t need to be – there is so much in Angelou’s poetry that deserves attention and recognition, and her subject matter is often not light.
WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I’d heard/ seen the title poem before in various places around the internet, but the first I knew of the collection was when I purchased it as part of a set with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name, all in beautiful matching editions.
WHY I Chose to Read It
While Maya Angelou is very well known in the UK, her writing isn’t as widely taught as I expect it is in the US. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings when in my early(ish) teens and while it stuck with me, it’s a generic hazy memory, because I was young and didn’t understand as much of the history. I wanted to branch out into her poetry; and, as I mentioned above, I wanted a quicker read to avoid missing a month of the challenge!
WHAT Makes It A Classic
Maya Angelou is so incredibly well known for her writing on her experiences, her discussions of race relations and gender politics, that it’s almost difficult to sum up why her work is considered classic. Her works are beautiful and harrowing expressions of what life has been like for various groups in the United States, and retain their power as the world still tries to figure out how to do better.
WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I loved this collection – so many of the poems within it have gut-wrenching impact.
WILL It Stay A Classic
Absolutely – no question about it!
WHO I’d Recommend It To
Everyone and anyone who reads poetry, honestly – it is intriguing, lyrical, and enlightening.