Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

"Oh my God, I’ve lived a very simple life! You can say, Oh yes, at thirteen this happened to me and at fourteen… But those are facts. But the facts can obscure the truth, what it really felt like. Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older." —Maya Angelou has died. She was 86.


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Debussy Fields (#9,962)

In 1997 I got bumped up to first class on a flight from NYC to GSO, and wound up sitting across the aisle from Dr. Angelou. I had some poetry I'd written with me and asked her if she'd read it. She touched my hand and regretted that she couldn't because she was being sued for plagiarism for her poem for Clinton's 2nd innauguration, "Because, apparently, someone else wrote about rivers and rocks before I did." But she did engage with me for the entire flight (pouring two airplane bottles of Jameson's into each cup of coffee she drank), and made me a reading list that included Grace Paley, Shelly's Ozymandias, the work of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and a few other pieces. "Read these," she said. "You will be astonished."
What a nice lady she was!

@Debussy Fields : The bit about the Jameson's endears her to me more than all the other details put together.

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