June 24, 2015

Wednesday Writing Wisdom (13) Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou
(1928 - 2014)

Curious facts about:

In 1941 Maya Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School, but she dropped out of the high school to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor.

She Was a Calypso Singer and Dancer. In 1957,  Angelou recorded a calypso album, “Miss Calypso.”  Two years later, she performed in an off-Broadway review that inspired the 1957 film “Calypso Heat Wave,” where she sang her own compositions. During that time, while performing in San Francisco nightclubs as a calypso singer and dancer, she met and teamed up with dance legend Alvin Ailey to form the modern dance performing duo “Al and Rita.”The pair never hit it big, so they eventually decided to go their separate ways.

She penned Hallmark  Greeting Cards and Cookbooks In 2000, Angelou created a successful collection of products for Hallmark, including greeting cards and decorative household items. Her Random House editor disapproved of her decision to lend her words to a line of cards, bookends, and pillows, arguing the venture was too commercial. But as Angelou told USA Today, “If I’m America’s poet, or one of them, then I want to be in people’s hands … people who would never buy a book.” She also wrote cookbooks, such as “Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart ” and “Hallelujah! The Welcome Table.”


  1. I had no clue about her extensive and varied background. Interesting that her editor disapproved of her doing cards, etc., I loved her cards and often purchased them. So sad that she is gone.

    1. A complex personality and multi-talented. Thanks for checking the post, Mae!

  2. I didn't know about her greeting card or cookbook ventures. How wonderful that she wanted people to have snippets of her poetry, even if they didn't buy books.

    1. A clever idea. perhaps people buying her cards or cook books were then interested to read her other works too.
      Thank you for visiting the post, Flossie!