Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson

Maya
Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson
1928
2014

American Poet, Dancer, Singer, Linguist, Civil Rights Activist, Playwright, Professor of American Studies and Autobiographer, Winner of Presidential Medal of the Arts, Lincoln Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom

Author Quotes

Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.

It is possible and imperative that we discover a brave and startling truth.

In order to be profoundly dishonest, a person must have one of two qualities: either he is unscrupulously ambitious, or he is unswervingly egocentric.

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

I believe that every person is born with talent.

Effective action is always unjust.

All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.

Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure. . . Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.

She comprehended the perversity of life, that in the struggle lies the joy.

When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.

If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up--lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.

Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

In all my work what I try to say is that as human beings we are more alike than we are unalike.

Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.

Here on the pulse of this new day you may have the grace to look up and out
and into your sister's eyes, into your brother's face, your country and say simply, very simply, with hope, "Good morning."

To those who are given much, much is expected.

Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.

It is this belief in a power larger than myself and other than myself which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Children's talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.

To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision. Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity. It becomes easier to die and avoid conflict than to maintain a constant battle with the superior forces of maturity.

I hope that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.

Author Picture
First Name
Maya
Last Name
Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson
Birth Date
1928
Death Date
2014
Bio

American Poet, Dancer, Singer, Linguist, Civil Rights Activist, Playwright, Professor of American Studies and Autobiographer, Winner of Presidential Medal of the Arts, Lincoln Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom