Poetry Is The Spontaneous Overflow Of Powerful Feelings

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‘‘Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility’- William Wordsworth. Born in Missouri USA in 1928, the African American poet Maya Angelou was brought into a white male dominated world made to abnegate her existence as anything of value. At the age of eight, she became victim to the social hierarchy which saw her raped. Too traumatised to speak out, Maya shared her distraught with her brother which soon resulted in the death of her rapist. It was at this stage of her life that Maya realized the power of her words and as a result became mute for 5 years. Maya later found herself within degrading occupations such as that of a pimp, a nightclub dancer and a prostitute. Although her early life was very unfortunate, it is these experiences of oppression which seep from her poems, making them as compelling as they are. Despite her interests beginning with drama and dance, Angelou’s power with words soon became acknowledged by many including Dr. Martin Luther King. ‘I know why the Caged Bird Sings’ was the powerful first in a series of Angelou’s works, as it explicitly spoke of issues which were often disregarded at the time. She continued her work producing several more poems including ‘Still I Rise’ which with ‘Caged Birds’ presents a unified ideology about her sentiments concerning the ostensibly impossible battle against oppression. Maya Angelou’s poetry embodies her personal experiences as an African
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