Tribute to Dr. Maya Anglelou
Just last month I posted about Maya Angelou, connecting her words from one of our Earth Day Posters about artists with transformational festivals like Burning Man and Lucidity:
“When members of a society wish to secure that society’s rich heritage, they cherish their arts and respect their artists. The esteem with which we regard the multiple cultures offered in our country enhances our possibilities for healthy survival and continued social development.” (Read it here).As we were camping in the Eastern Sierra and traveling home, the news started trickling into my Facebook news feed that the celebrated and highly honored actress, educator, madam, poet, and author of 35 books in 50 years Maya Angelou had passed on at age 86.
When I checked my email the local paper wanted to quote me about Dr Angelou’s impact on me as a poet and teacher. I had already been musing on this topic, remembering when I had first read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, and having a difficult time comprehending the horrors she experienced at such a young age and being amazed by her resilience.
Later, when I was a broke poet/adjunct/artist, she spoke in Santa Barbara at the Arlington and my friend Kathy Talley arranged for us to usher so we could get in for free. It was one of the most thrilling readings I ever attended and one of the more special nights of my life, so exciting and such an honor to be there as an usher. Her voice was so moving and her words so inspiring, we were both in tears at times. These days, I often teach her essay “Graduation.”
Also in my email, frequent Art Predator guest blogger Ron Wells had sent the following about Maya Angelou: A woman who wrote with insight, power and conviction, and whose words carried reality, dreams and hope. In her own words: