A Post By: Michael Gallo
Today, Maya Angelou tragically passed away at 86 years young, taking with her the reason that caged birds actually sing. She may address this in her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but no one on staff has read that book so at press time it is still unclear.
I imagine it’s because of the captivity. Birds just want to be free.
We shouldn’t be focusing on the birds though, this is about Maya.
Maya Angelou was a poet, or a wordsmith. Poetry is that confusing subject that people fail to teach you in middle school. Then you grow up and that weird hipster in your film class is still writing it. Maybe you take a college course on poetry and think, “this is interesting, why aren’t more people doing this?” And the hipster kid is like, “I still do it. I perform it every Wednesday, I don’t own a TV blah blah blah” and you stop listening to him.
Maya Angelou never stopped writing poetry. She was like the kid in elementary school who kept drawing after the rest of the kids had put the crayons down. She wrote extensively about The South and more specifically the Jim Crow Laws, a topic that could frankly use a few more voices.
Alright, it’s time to come clean: I don’t really know who Maya Angelou is. Maybe you could tell with all of my misguided facts, and crayon analogies. I know she’s a poet and a writer (Wikipedia), and I know she’s important (Twitter). But I’m not going to pretend to truly understand her impact. I have never read a single piece of her writing, and I took AP English. I’m done acting like everyone else and pretending to truly appreciate who she is. Maybe, being a white male from the suburbs, I should really consider why I have never read her work. Maybe I’m ignorant. Maybe a racist public school system failed me. But it only takes so many photos of Maya with Bill Clinton to know she’s important. And seeing the responses on social media, it’s clear she was a writer of monumental proportions.
It’s not often a monumental writer like Maya Angelou dies. And maybe that’s because there aren’t a lot of monumental writers left.