On this Day of Love, also known as Valentine’s Day, I want to uplift an author and one of her books, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I love Maya and this book!
Maya Angelou was challenged by none other than James Baldwin, her friend, to write this autobiography, so poetic, so lyrical, that reviewers categorized it as “autobiographical fiction.”
Maya first published this book in 1969, the last year of the Decisive Decade. It would be the first in a seven-volume series. Black male authors have penned many coming-of-age stories. This book features a coming-of-age story by a Black female author. It begins when Maya is three years of age.
This book is a book for the ages!
Many know Maya through her poetry, single poems as famous as the author. My favorite, “Still I Rise.” Maya could do almost anything with poetry, and she tapped into so many forms, even “the toast!” My second favorite poem by Maya is, “Where We Belong, A Duet.” I would argue that in this poem she uses some of the features of the toast.
If you don’t know why the caged bird sings, then you must read this book. If you have, then there are six more in the series, the titles as evocative as the content, and the main character, Maya, a Muse for all ages.
Thank you for pointing out the disparity in Black female coming-of-age stories! Promoting the perspectives of often silenced individuals is of the upmost importance, yet I often find myself gravitating to popular texts that fit the mold. This was helpful reminder to push and look beyond.
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Great! Alice Walker challenged me to read even more Black women authors.