Maya Angelou: A Phenomenal Woman

Amazing Quote Maya

Maya Angelou the poet and author died today at the age of 86. She was born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928. This was not a time in America when a young black girl could dream of growing up to be a famous author, much less to read her poetry at a presidential inauguration.

Despite abuse, racial discrimination and hardship, Maya Angleou grew up to become not only an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement, but an actress, a poet and the author of six autobiographies, including  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name.

A Phenomenal Woman

Maya Angelou lived a full and amazing life.  She studied dance with Martha Graham, danced with the Alvin Ailey Company, hung out with  Malcom X, Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and is best friends with Oprah. All of this from a woman who refused to talk as a child.


I may be the Chick Flicks Girl, but there are times in life when I crave poetry. In those times it seems that poets can express my emotions in a uniquely eloquent way. When I am in need of a boost of self confidence, these words lift me up…

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.” 
— Maya Angelou (Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women)


And yes, there are movies too. Diahann Carroll, Esther Rolle, and Ruby Dee starred the movie based on Maya Angelou’s autobiography,  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She also wrote the poetry for John Singleton’s movie, Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. Maya also directed the movie, Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard. What a phenomenal woman!

 To learn more about the life and works of Maya Angelou, visit:
About Clara Mathews

Clarabela (Clara Mathews) is freelance web content copywriter, professional blogger and Hugh Jackman fan. In addition to writing about her love of movies at, Clarabela is also a regular contributor to DignityZine.  Follow Just Chick Flicks on Facebook.