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

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.

Live as though life was created for you.

I am convinced that most people do not grow up...We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.

Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you've got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it.

We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Anything that works against you can also work for you once you understand the Principle of Reverse.

Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.

The sisters and brothers that you meet give you the materials which your character uses to build itself. It is said that some people are born great, others achieve it, some have it thrust upon them. In truth, the ways in which your character is built have to do with all three of those. Those around you, those you choose, and those who choose you.

Talent is like electricity. We don't understand electricity. We use it.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill,
of things unknown, but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

No one can take the place of a friend, no one.

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.

First best is falling in love. Second best is being in love. Least best is falling out of love. But any of it is better than never having been in love.

All great achievements require time.

Success is loving life and daring to live it.

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.

Had I known that the heart breaks slowly, dismantling itself into unrecognizable plots of misery... had I known yet I would have loved you, your brash and insolent beauty, your heavy comedic face and knowledge of sweet delights, but from a distance I would have left you whole and wholly for the delectation of those who wanted more and cared less.

Touched by an Angel. We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.

Let's tell the truth to people. When people ask, 'How are you?' have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avaoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don't want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.

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