Analysis of Still I Rise

Maya Angelou 1928 (St. Louis) – 2014 (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)



You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread 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.


Scheme xaxa bcxc xxxa xaaa bdxd xaaa baxa xAxAeefAfAggAAA
Poetic Form
Metre 111110100 1110101 111100101 111111 111011 1110111 11111111 1001101 111011 1010011 111101 111 11111110 110101 1010111 1011101 111011 1111101 11111111 101111 1111111 1111111 1111111 111111 11100011 1111001 11111110 1010111 110111001 11 110111001 11 101101001 1001011001 1001111001 11 0101111 11 100111101 1101001101 11 11 11
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,210
Words 241
Sentences 17
Stanzas 8
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 15
Lines Amount 43
Letters per line (avg) 22
Words per line (avg) 6
Letters per stanza (avg) 120
Words per stanza (avg) 30
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Submitted on July 13, 2019

Modified on May 02, 2023

1:15 min read
913

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is an American author and poet. She has published seven autobiographies, five books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She has received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim. Angelou's list of occupations includes pimp, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, castmember of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, author, journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization, and actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Since 1982, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she has made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. more…

All Maya Angelou poems | Maya Angelou Books

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    Who wrote "I have taken the bones you hardened and built daughters"?
    A Lucille Clifton
    B Sylvia Plath
    C Maya Angelou
    D Robert Hayden