The Poetry of Maya Angelou
Experience the phenomenal writer through these 5 apps.
In honor of Black History Month, the App Store celebrates groundbreaking developers and creators in the world of apps and games.
In 1969, not even halfway through her long and prolific life, Maya Angelou published her revolutionary memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
A heartbreaking yet uplifting portrayal of a young black woman’s experience of racism and sexual assault, the book (Angelou’s first) landed on best-seller lists, earned a National Book Award nomination, and catapulted its author into the national consciousness.
These five apps will help you engage in the hard and inspiring conversations Angelou started half a century ago.
Revel in her words
‣ Angelou was a prolific author of poetry, plays, essays, autobiographies, children’s books, and cookbooks (where you’ll find the cassoulet recipe she made for food writer M.F.K. Fisher). Libby provides free access to your local library’s digital catalog of her broader body of work—directly on your iPhone and iPad.
To read Angelou (and your other favorite authors), download the app and connect your library account.
Libby, by OverDrive
Library ebooks and audiobooks
Get poetic justice
‣ Some of Angelou’s most quotable work comes from her vast catalog of poetry. Lucky, then, that Poemhunter’s collection of more than 1.4 million works includes “Still I Rise,” “Phenomenal Woman,” and “On the Pulse of the Morning,” which she wrote for the 1993 inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
Once you’ve read Angelou’s classics, you can search Poemhunter’s database of 100,000 poets and, while you’re at it, sign up to receive the app’s Poem of the Day.
Best Poems by Best Poets
Watch the master work
‣ Now that you’ve gotten to know Angelou through her writing, bring her to life with the PBS Video app, which hosts the American Masters documentary And Still I Rise. The documentary chronicles Angelou’s life and career and features interviews with actress Alfre Woodard and rapper Common, among many others.
In the app, view archival photographs and videos that show Angelou as a dancer in the groundbreaking opera Porgy and Bess, and look through candid images of her with Malcolm X, marching for civil rights, and delivering Clinton’s inaugural poem.
Shows that Spark Curiosity
Hearing is believing
‣ Angelou’s speaking voice is almost as iconic as her poetry—smooth, lilting, rhythmic, and enchanting. Get your fill by downloading Apple Podcasts and listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Oprah’s Master Class, BBC World Book Club, and more. Oprah counts Angelou as one of her mentors, and their two-part conversation includes anecdotes about Angelou’s childhood, her books, and her relationship with her mother.
Audio that informs & inspires
M is for Maya
‣ A mother herself, Angelou understood the importance of speaking to children and meeting them where they are. And in the ’90s, kids could be found on Sesame Street. Angelou appeared on several episodes of the classic children’s television series. To catch vintage seasons, including seasons 25 and 30, in which Angelou appears, all you need is an HBO Now subscription. Watch her play patty-cake with Elmo or belt out a song in honor of her name. The episodes are perfectly nostalgic but also hold up for kiddos today. After all, learning letters of the alphabet with an award-winning poet and absolute legend is a treat no matter your age.