Weekly Roundup: The Best of Maya Angelou Tributes


This week, the world lost one of its greatest voices when Maya Angelou passed away on May 28 at age 86. After hearing the news, we spent some time reading back over some of my favorite poems of hers. There were some beautiful tributes published in a variety of magazines and newspapers, but we’ve chosen our three favorites for this week’s weekly roundup of articles that had us thinking.

“Looking Back at Maya Angelou’s Life and Work, in The Times and on Twitter,” by John Williams in The New York Times, May 28. 2014.

This New York Times article looks back at the many reviews and articles published on Angelou’s writings in The Times. It’s a fascinating historical tour of an author’s body of work, as viewed by literary critics from the 1970s to the present. The second part of the article offers a selection of Angelou-focused tweets. They are funny and poignant and often include a delightful photo we hadn’t seen before. It’s an article that will keep you clicking and reading more articles.

“The Face of Memoir Forever Changed: Maya Angelou’s Life and Works,” by Jennie Yabroff in Biographile, May 28, 2014.

This brief article focuses on Angelou’s multi-volume memoir. Even when writing prose, she wrote poetry, as evidenced by her magnificent memoirs that shook up the literary world and inspired many generations.

“Maya Angelou’s Universal Struggle,” by Spencer Kornhaber in The Atlantic, May 28, 2014.

This excellent article describes how Angelou’s power came from daring to tell her own story, and to use that story—so often defined by struggle—to relate to an ever larger audience and an ever larger world. Her life and works became symbols for many struggles—racial, gendered, sexual, religious—and inspired others to use their own struggles for good.