The meaning and theme of the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou is the idea that all women are beautiful and that beauty is found in the way that a woman carries herself. Poet Angelou suggests that beauty is determined not by whether a woman looks a model, but whether she has her head on her shoulders, confidence, grace and the ability to not let anything bring down her pride. A woman is phenomenal because of these aspects, rather than her physical appearance.
Phenomenal Woman is a poem by American author and poet Maya Angelou. Angelou has been referred to as ‘America’s most visible black female autobiographer’ and, among a wide range of other works, is most famous for her series of six autobiographical volumes. These volumes are based on her experiences throughout childhood and adolescence and begin with the highly acclaimed ‘I Know Why theCaged Bird Sings’. This volume was published in 1969 and addresses the poets childhood through to the age of seventeen. ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ was nominated for a National Book Prize and it brought Angelou to the level of international recognition. Her second volume in this series was ‘Just Give Me a CoolDrink of Water ‘Fore I Diiie’. Published in 1971, it led to Angelou being nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and over 30 honorary degrees.
Maya Angelou is renowned for her ability to talk intimately and with detail about her personal life. Within her books she focuses on racism, family and identity in an attempt to expand what is typically regarded as the autobiographic genre. She has been inundated with awards and recognition. At Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, she was the first poet to recite work at an inauguration since John F Kennedy’s. Later, in 1995, she was given the status of having the longest running record on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List.