I was introduced to Maya Angelou’s work when I was in 8th grade by a student teacher by the name of Mr. Willis. The first poem I ever read was “Still I Rise”. I was captivated by that poem and I still have the original print from 8th grade that the teacher passed to the class. I was introduced to other works by African-American writers but Maya struck something within me.
I won’t say that she inspired me to write because I always had the passion even before my introduction to her. However, she through her work served as inspiration to me; to dig a little deeper and reach that plateau of understanding from the reader.
I was saddened to learn of her passing but I know that Maya still rises. For her body of work will still serve as inspiration to others. It is my belief that Maya has reached another plateau. The plateau of heaven and you can’t rise any higher than that. Maya still rises.
Soprano, Jessye Norman - Deep River