Maya Angelou

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'Still I Rise' by Maya Angelou: the poem

You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? 'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries. Does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard 'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines Diggin' in my own back yard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise. GCSE English Blended Poetry

© Maya Angelou in whose name Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. has granted permission. © The Sheffield College, 2006

Exploring the Poem
We are now going to explore 'Still I Rise' using the five aspects of poetry we looked at earlier.

Situation Viewpoint Ideas or themes Language and style Mood or atmosphere After reading 'Still I Rise' a couple of times, use the following questions to help explore your ideas about the poem.

What do you think Angelou might mean in the opening lines when she says that history tells lies about her?

GCSE English Blended Poetry

© The Sheffield College, 2006

In the closing lines, who is Maya Angelou referring to...
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