Phenomenal Woman

Poetry Analysis

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born as Marguerite Johnson on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She was raised by her grandma where she learned faith and values. In a world filled with racism, hate, and despair Maya learned to put her emotions into the arts. She got a scholarship to San Francisco’s Labor School to study dance and drama, but she dropped out to work as a female cable car conductor. Later on, she finished high school, and afterwards she gave birth to her son, Guy. She supported her son by working as a waitress and cook. But Maya's longing to pursue the arts never left and she would go on to become one of the most influential and inspirational poets of this time.


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This poem uplifts, encourages, and empowers African American women to be themselves. Although the speaker reveals some of her faults, she still has a very confident and strong personality that inspires the reader to take pride in one's self and focus on the best qualities that they have.


This poem does not tell a story but it expresses a lot of emotion. The speaker shows confidence and self empowerment through this poem, putting her stamp on the world. The tone of this poem helps the reader see the beauty of imperfection and really helps build self esteem. This poem sets a mood of pride and dignity. It is hard to tell who the speaker is talking to but it sounds as if she is talking to anyone willing to listen, especially to the people who discriminate and hate people who aren't perfect. When someone is reading this poem it should come off as someone who is uplifting and confident within themselves. Words spoken in this poem such as: "The swing of my waist, And the joy in my feet. I'm a woman "Phenomenally" helps set the tone and mood of this poem.


The author wrote this poem as a lyrical poem. It is like a song, it uses a lot of metaphors and imagery to express the speakers feelings as well as good rhyme scheme. It is a pretty lengthy poem but it is worth it. It is pretty simple and written in everyday language with a hint of figurative language. Metaphors like "Then they swarm around me, a hive of honey bees." were used to show that men are attracted to her. Other types of figurative language were used to express her confidence in herself. She uses the word "fire" to express her passion and she compares the warmth of her smile to the ‘sun’. The poem keeps the same tone throughout, it never really changes. Full Stops and Commas are frequently used and ensure that the meaning is very clear.
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17-JILL SCOTT-HATE ON ME by streetswaggertv

Language/ Music Devices

Repetition occurs often with the word ‘phenomenal’, it is repeated to put emphasis on the main theme and topic of the poem. Many of the lines in this poem rhyme,but this poem does not have a strict pattern. Lines one, two, four, six, and eight all rhyme. In this poem you can find many more examples of this rhyme scheme . The rhyming helps the poem flow smoothly and also gives the poem a more confident tone.