New York-Her body weak, her voice rich and strong, Maya Angelou sang, lectured and reminisced as she accepted a lifetime achievement award Thursday night from the Norman Mailer Center. The 85-year-old author, poet, dancer and actress was honored during a benefit gala at the New York Public Library, the annual gathering organized by the Mailer Center and writers colony . Seated in a wheelchair, she was a vivid presence in dark glasses and a sparkling black dress as she marveled that a girl from a segregated Arkansas village could grow up to become a literary star. "Imagine it," she said, "a
Comments: Still writing fiction, still playing the same old card. She goes on to say the town was so segregated black people couldn´t eat vanilla ice cream. Being able to grow up and be anything is the whole point of this country. Ask Dr. Ben.
The entire democrat/liberal/communist machine operates completely with smoke and mirrors. There is nothing real in the entire structure. That´s how they do it. Fooling the fools, year after year, decade after decade.
Wouldn´t you just love to know what Hillary Clinton REALLY thinks about Maya Angelou? Think dreamchaser gift.
Have you ever noticed that the gushing over these so-called heroes is over-the-top?
How many meaningless awards can one person receive? How many ways can they be described as a pioneer, visionary, voice of a race, etc. etc.?
The writing and adjectives employed here are nothing short of embarrassing for the so-called objective AP...neither are they novel. A ´vivid presence in dark glasses?´ In a wheelchair? By those standards so is every sad-sack pensioner hoisted onto the nursing home bus for a day trip.
The unspeakable truth: some of these civil rights icons are over-lavished with praise and trinkets because the civil rights biz will be woefully short on legitimate heroes in 20 or 30 years time thanks to the corruption of the original civil rights movement and, frankly, the obsolescence of the movement itself.
PS - the classy Chron´s (automated) link engine posted ´Porn stars enter the mainstream´ under the We Recommend section.
When my son was a student at Connecticut College, Angelou was a featured speaker. What I most remember is the perfect Heck (see how I skated on that word) she put the committee through in wanting THE best hotel, THE best limo, THE best meals, prior to her "of the people" talk and opinions. Anyone who had to deal with the woman was thoroughly disgusted, especially when they compared notes with other schools and found this was her entitled M.O. Other note: we used to live four brownstones from Mailer in Bklyn Heights and never got our mail as he waylaid the mailman for drinks virtually every day. Such is fame for both of them.
I have to admit I love Maya Angelou. Not her politics, but her writing and her poetry and just her. Can totally understand the comments here though and #4´s because my husband had to interview her once and her person told his person that she must be addressed as "Dr." Angelou at all times (because of her honorary doctorate). Otherwise, she was very, very nice and gave him a large autographed fancy copy of the poem she read at Bill Clinton´s inauguration (gag). I hung it behind the study door. Our photograph of my husband with Laura Bush though is front and center above the desk!
The left loves to choose the next undeserving affirmative action candidate to give phony awards to. Rigoberto Menchu is a good example being awarded the Nobel prize for literature for a made up biography. Reminds me of someone else getting a Nobel prize for whatever (not being George Bush). Then there are lefties like Penn State´s Michael Mann (political climatologist) who claim to have a Nobel prize, but that is news to the Nobel committee. Penn State sure has a lot to brag about.
#8, I remember JFK´s inauguration, when he invited Robert Frost who read a poem that was not about JFK, but instead, was about America. And I remember Bill Clinton´s first inauguration, where Maya Angelou read a hideous poem, with her pretentious voice rising and falling, pimping out Bill.
Frost was an authentic poet. I don´t know what Maya is.
#10, I love Emily Dickinson too whom I guess you would consider a real female poet. I can also appreciate Sylvia Plath´s poetry. All three of these women have very different styles, but all three are poets. I am not saying I admire Maya Angelou´s politics, at all, because I don´t.
I respect your opinion. I find that sometimes I can´t stand a person´s work either if they´re obnoxious about their liberal politics, but she is one of the few that I´m able to enjoy.
#12, I greatly admire Robert Frost and visted his gravestone in Bennington, Vermont nine years ago which is a family grave in a cemetery with a small white church and the atmosphere with the trees and scenery was one of the most peaceful, beautiful places I´ve ever been.
I don´t think anyone despises Bill Clinton more than I do, so yes, that particular poem of hers dedicated to him is sickening, agree with you there and I certainly respect your opinion.
As befits an English major from antique times, I read poetry for pleasure because at its best it is a showcase for language in its purest, most powerful form, capable of touching the reader´s mind and spirit. Consider, for example, W.B. Yeats´ "Among School Children," probably one of the most magnificent poems of the Twentieth Century (link below).
After hearing a brilliant professor of literature at Vanderbilt expound on this poem for an entire class--I wish I had made a recording of what he said--I realized that great art stands up to close analysis of text, form, and content, that the perceptive reader can always dig deeper and find additional strata of meaning. That´s as it should be with great art.
But most artists, even those who are acclaimed, are not great, and some quite plebian writers have been lionized by critics who wouldn´t know good writing from politically correct boilerplate drivel, which is Ms. Angelou´s specialty. My professor at Vanderbilt had earned a doctorate, and his doctoral thesis became a reference book in many university poetry classes; nevertheless, more interested in the work he was doing than in the title by which he was identified, he insisted that we call him "Mr." The ceremonially august and more than faintly ridiculous Ms. Angelou, whose doctorate is honorary, insists in being called "Dr." That´s telling, especially considering that her body of work has less merit than that of Rod McKuen.
Agree with most of your post, #16, and that is a beautiful poem. I don´t think anyone is saying that Angelou is the greatest poet, technically or aesthetically, that ever lived.
Perhaps if I explain a little more, it may make more sense. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings as a teenager, and it spoke to me, and later on, read many of her poems, and as you put it, they "touched my mind and spirit". It has to do with being a woman, female bonding, emotional bond, whatever you want to call it, and mostly her spirit of optimism that shines through, it has nothing to do with her politics or analyzing it and comparing it to Yeats.
Well, these Lefties can continue the game of giving each other awards and lavish praise, but that still doesn´t elevate Angelou´s work above the level of drivel. As the old saying goes, "you can´t make a silk purse out of a sow´s ear."
P.S.--I also find her pretentious manner and delivery offensive. An "honorary doctorate" and, yet, she wants to be addressed as "Doctor," heh.
Re #17: Far be it from me to tell anyone else--especially any of my friends here--what reading to enjoy in contemplative moments. If "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" brings you pleasure and expands your horizons, I wouldn´t dare to gainsay what you derive from it. Among my books of poetry are collections by Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, and Sylvia Plath (I have several of her volumes). I purchased their books because their writing could astonish me and enable me to see things differently, to understand things of which I wasn´t aware before. Poetry is the language of the soul, and life would be poorer without it.
Poetry doesn´t even have to have meter or rhyme; there´s more to poetry than mere form. I cannot imagine anyone not wearing a smile after reading Ted Kooser´s brief "A Happy Birthday," which closes his volume entitled Lights and Shadows. (Kooser was Poet Laureate of the United States, also a Pulitzer Prize winner. I hope it´s okay to post his poem here. I´ll italicise it so it stands out separate from what I´ve written.)
A Happy Birthday (Ted Kooser)
This evening, I sat by an open window and read till the light was gone and the book was no more than a part of the darkness. I could easily have switched on a lamp, but I wanted to ride this day down into night, to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page with the pale gray ghost of my hand.
#21, what a beautiful poem! Thank you for posting. I don´t know a lot about poetry, would like to learn more. I can see you have a refined eye for the really good stuff. It´s nice to discuss uplifting subjects once in a while in between some of the worrying political news and learn about my fellow Ldotters´ interests at the same time!
Whatever..Maya is appreciated by those who appreciate her..I’m not refined enough to critic her poetry or anyone’s...admired #16´s post, but already did cuz he appreciates Otis Redding "Sittin on the Dock of the Bay...Frost flubbed the delivery of his Kennedy poem because of his advanced age, about the same age Maya was at this award event. Just glad Maya didn’t try and mimic Frost and try to be an emissary to an enemy of the US 2 years after an inaugural role, as Frost did when he traveled to meet Khrushchev, or that Maya penned the following, instead of Frost, cuz ya’ll would be debating its meaning:
“There´s no such thing as socialism pure Except as an abstraction of the mind. There´s only democratic socialism, Monarchic socialism, oligarchic The last being what they seem to have in Russia.”
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