Revolutionary Poetry of the 1900s


A poem by the American civil rights activist Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” is about the maintenance of dignity and resilience of a marginalized group of people in the face of oppression. It can be interpreted through a more colored lens and read as a poem specifically about African American racism as Angelou commonly wrote poetry about blackness and black womanhood. The poem, published in 1978 to her third poetry collection titled And Still I Rise, remains to be one of her most acclaimed works. Inspiring and emotional, it encourages readers to fully embrace themselves and persevere through hardships despite the judgment and effort of others to hold them back.

This project explores Angelou’s work, alongside that of other revolutionary black poets like Langston Hughes and Audre Lorde, during the Civil Rights era – finding similarities and differences within their writing and meaning.

Helpful Links

Still I Rise, Annotated Poem – Annotations on historical context and literary elements

Annotations Analysis – A summary of the annotations and explanation for the inclusion of annotations

Authorial Stylistic Comparisons Analysis – Similarities and differences in the poetic writing of Angelou, Hughes, and Lorde

To explore more about this time period, read Long, Hot Summers: Rethinking 1960s Urban Unrest Half a Century Later

Project Conclusions – An overview of the annotations and authorial stylistic comparisons