Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

To my (partial) shame I have come to the pleasures of exquisite writing quite late. I should read more, I know that. Right now, I’m putting in extra effort to try and make up. News today of Maya Angelou’s death prompted me to reach for the fresh copy of I Why The Caged Bird Sings we have on our bookshelf at home. Both me and the other half expressed surprised it appeared unread. We were sure we’d read it at some point, but couldn’t account for why the spine on this copy appeared unbroken. We were sure we could recall another considerable more well-read copy which perhaps had been thrown out during a particularly aggressive de-cluttering weekend some years ago. No matter. Turning the pages on this 1984 print with Angelou’s breathtaking smile across the front cover was a tantalising experience. I adore the powerful imagery she conjurs up so early on, and the effortless rhythm she employs to describe it.  I like to think it was an effortless process for her – it seems that way when I read it.

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