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Tribute to Dr. Maya Anglelou

May 29, 2014

10402751_10152446595928540_6381259218008559795_nDoes my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

–Maya Angelou

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.

01homequoteWhen 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:

“Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” 
“Life is going to give you just what you put in it. Put your whole heart in everything you do, and pray, then you can wait.” 
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
From her poem, “When Great Trees Fall”:
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.” 
If you have never heard her melodious, rich voice, now is the time:
If you want to learn more about Maya Angelou, here’s her official website. Learn more:
Here’s an article on Dr Angelou from MS Magazine. http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/05/28/still-we-rise-remembering-maya-angelou/
Here’s one from the LA TImes: http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-maya-angelou-20140529-story.html#page=1
Here’s the one from the Ventura County Star: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2014/may/28/writers-poets-pay-tribute-to-maya-angelou-8212/?partner=RSS
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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 29, 2014 2:36 pm

    Reblogged this on whisper down the write alley and commented:

    Rest in Peace, Maya Angelou!

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