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Maya Angelou. Find A Poet Of Your Choice, Give Biography, Effect To That Current Time Period, And To Analyze One Poem.

2819 words - 11 pages

Maya Angelou, a modern writer, poet, activist, playwright, former prostitute, madam, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, and song writer who focuses on personal experience in poetry, changed women's roles through her voice, poetry, and troubled past. "I try to live my life as a poetic adventure, everything is part of a large canvas I am creating, I am living beneath (Litz 1)." Admitting that she sometimes "hates words" and that she "doesn't adore the writer's discipline", but it's all what composes her writer's workday (Williams 31). Although a prominent poet today, she spent much of her troubled youth fleeing various family problems. She grew up homeless for a time, worked on and off as a prostitute, and held a variety of jobs in several places as a young adult (Napierkowski 275). Maya came up the hard way with pain and hope, while raised by her Grandma after her parents divorce, raped as a child, had a baby at age 16 out of wedlock, and by age 30 was a prostitute, show girl, madam, and an actress (Unapix).On April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Marguerite Johnson was born the daughter of Bailey Johnson and Vivan Baxter (Napierkowski 14). Maya has one older brother Bailey who addressed her as "My sister"; and later shortened it to "My," then extended it to "Maya" and retained permanently as her first name (Williams 14). Maya saw her Brother Bailey as her role model, always looking to him for advice (Unapix). Maya's mother Vivian is a nurse and card dealer; her father Bailey Johnson Sr. was a doorman and dietician or meal adviser for the navy. A difficult marriage that ended in divorce, and their subsequent inability to deal with young children left neither of them wanting to take care of them (Lupton 4). Her father tagged them on the arm like a piece of mail to livewith her grandmother Mrs. Annie Henderson (Unapix). During this time in Stamps, Arkansas, a rural, segregated environment, little Marguerite came to understand at the age of three that she was a southerner, an African American, and female-three birthrights burdened by the centuries of turmoil, hate, and abuse (Bettman). Annie Henderson, an owner and operator of a general store, was loved dearly. She was contained, calm, and beautiful for her size (Lupton 4). Stamp, Arkansas had only one black owned store; which also served as her home. With no running water or electricity, it was considered an average home in the south during the 1930 Great Depression (Unapix). She was able to survive off basic commodities like beans and flour from her grandmothers' store (Lupton 4).Maya was too young to understand the outside world where blacks and whites were separated, for her family raised her with care and acceptance. Maya thought if she stuck her hand in a white person, it would go right through. She thought of herself as "the people," and white people just as "white folks." At the age of 7 she moved to St. Louis with her brother Bailey to live with her mother to experience "big city...

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