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  • POEM: Still I Rise by Maya Angelou (5/25/2004 3:16:00 AM)

    I appreciate the poem, but I feel it could be strengthened if it were more closely placed in either the 'poetic english' or the patoi. I am disturbed by the use of trod where I believe tread is correct, and I do not feel that this substitution adds anything to the impact of the piece.

    It is also a weakness that the continued attempt to rhyme clashes with the very strong and clear last verse - I find Pain and Shame a very stretched rhyme. If the rhyme in this last section was more accurate, it would add power to the content. I am also a little confused by the structure of the ending. There seems to be no good reason to break the structure of '.../I rise' with the group of lines in the middle.

    May I suggest, as a reader/performer, that a more traditional structure such as

    Out of the huts of history's shame
    Up from a past that's rooted in pain
    I rise
    I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
    I rise
    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise.

    Makes for better performance.

    But, of course, opinions do not matter. It is a good poem as it stands and I make these suggestions only to provoke thought. I do not suggest any rewrite, but the poet might like to consider in future work that niggly little people like myself enjoy structure for the strength it can give to the whole, and do not see it as a limiting constraint to be avoided for the sake of immediacy.

    I must congratulate you on your hosting this site. It provides an excellent opportunity for poets of all backgounds to appear.

    Well done!

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