Friday, January 18, 2008

Poetry Friday: Phenomenal Woman

The poetry I love most is the poetry that has had some sort of impact on my life, poetry that MEANS something to me. There are a few poems that have really made a lasting impact on me, and I’d mostly like to feature those in Poetry Friday.

When I was in high school, I got the amazing opportunity to see Maya Angelou speak at a college campus near my hometown. We had just finishing reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and I was ecstatic when my English teacher told us we were going to see Angelou speak. To be honest, I don’t even remember what she spoke about, but she recited a few of her poems, and when she began to recite “Phenomenal Woman,” a hush fell over the crowd, and I was entranced. Perhaps it was the confidence she exuded as she read the poem, her movements, her facial expressions that got to me. All I know is that many years later, this poem is one I keep coming back to—one that has really impacted my life.

Here’s an excerpt:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Read the rest here:

For more Poetry Friday submissions, visit Farm School.


  1. I adore that poem. And Angelou has such a commanding presence and voice, with such music to it. No wonder this one still plays in your mind.

  2. Beautiful poem, and what a fabulous experience that would have been.

  3. Kelly,
    I think you've nailed it right on the head...I never get tired of hearing her speak.

    It was definitely a wonderful experience. Maybe one day I'll get the chance to see her speak again.