I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Angelou, Maya

Maya Angelou (mī´ə ăn´jəlōō), 1928–2014, African-American writer and performer, b. St. Louis, Mo., as Marguerite Johnson. She toured Europe and Africa in the musical Porgy and Bess (1954–55), then sang in New York City nightclubs, joined the Harlem Writers Guild, and took part in several off-Broadway productions, including Genet's The Blacks and her own Cabaret for Freedom (1960). During the 1960s she was active in the African-American political movement; she subsequently moved to Cairo where she edited The Arab Observer and then spent several years in Ghana as editor of the African Review. During the 1970s she appeared on Broadway, in several feature films, and in the TV miniseries Roots. Although she wrote poems, plays, and short stories, all in a lush and lyrical style that was both lauded and criticized, she is best known for her six autobiographical volumes (1970–2002), the first and most popular of which, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which tells of her childhood in the segregated South. Her several volumes of poetry include And I Still Rise (1978). Angelou read her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at the inauguration of President Clinton in 1993. President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 1998
Librarian’s tip: This is a book of literary criticism
Understanding I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents
Joanne Megna-Wallace.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Maya Angelou: A Critical Companion
Mary Jane Lupton.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970)"
Through Their Voices She Found Her Voice: Women in Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Correa, Claudia Maria Fernandes.
ARIEL, Vol. 41, No. 1, January 2010
Breaking out of the Cage: The Autobiographical Writings of Maya Angelou
Saunders, James Robert.
Hollins Critic, Vol. 28, No. 4, October 1991
Opposing Censorship in the Public Schools: Religion, Morality, and Literature
June Edwards.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 11 "Religion and Morality in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou"
Temporarily FREE! Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender
Jerilyn Fisher; Ellen S. Silber.
Greenwood Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "A Song of Freedom: Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)" begins on p. 147
Modern Black American Fiction Writers
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, 1995
Librarian’s tip: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is discussed in Chap. 1 "Maya Angelou"
Women Memoirists
Harold Bloom.
Chelsea House, vol.1, 1998
Librarian’s tip: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is discussed in Chap. 1 "Maya Angelou"
Hurston's and Angelou's Visual Art: The Distancing Vision and the Beckoning Gaze
Tangum, Marion M.; Smelstor, Marjorie.
The Southern Literary Journal, Vol. 31, No. 1, Fall 1998
Our Mothers, Our Selves: Writers and Poets Celebrating Motherhood
Karen J. Donnelly; J. B. Bernstein.
Bergin & Garvey, 1996
Librarian’s tip: An excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings begins on p. 83
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