When I was in college, I had the opportunity to see Dr. Maya Angelou read poetry at Smith College. To say say she ‘read’ poetry, however, is imprecise. She performed poetry. She used her entire body, from facial expressions to grand gestures, even incorporating dance movements. And that voice–the most basso profundo of contraltos–emblazoned the imagery in the listener’s mind. She made the words of Dunbar, Hughes, St. Vincent Millay, and Dickinson live. That performance, and her own work in general, will be with me forever.
Rest in peace, Dr. Angelou