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Happy Birthday Maya Angelou

Ahem. Please excuse my 2 delay on this. I suddenly became busy.

Happy Birthday, Maya Angelou: The Beloved Author Recites Her Poem “Phenomenal Woman”

by Maria Popova

Celebrated poet, memoirist, dramatist, actor, producer, filmmaker, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou (b. April 4, 1928) endures as one of the most influential literary voices of our time and a testament to the tenacity — creative, social, spiritual — of the human spirit. From her extraordinary autobiographies to her beautiful essays to her lesser-known children’s verses, Angelou has served as an inspiration to generations. To generations of women in particular, her poem “Phenomenal Woman,” found in the sublime and soul-lifting 1978 poetry volume And Still I Rise (public library), became an anthem of empowerment, and nowhere does it come to life more beautifully than as it pours out from Angelou’s own lips, who recites her iconic poem in this rare recording:

Disclaimer. This poem probably isn't of interest to the audience here, but I didn't get to pick the rare recording of Maya Angelou, this is what was available.

Read more here.


I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

And Still I Rise

The Complete Poems

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I had to read it in school

but it's been a long time. Wasn't the reason the caged bird sings something along the lines of it longed for it's lost freedom?

Wouldn't it make sense to ask why it was caged in the first place? That's something I should have asked the first time I read it.

Michael Nystrom's picture

That's a good one


Who put it in that cage and why? A mystery! Why is the caged bird caged?

'I Know Why the Caged Panda Stinks' empowered me.

Thank you Maya, my illusion.

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

She is truly gifted

and I admire her emotional strength.

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Michael Nystrom's picture

Hey speaking of rare recordings...

I enjoyed the reading you posted. I haven't read anything by Maya Angelou in my life. Can you believe it? So thanks for that exposure.

I found the Sunday Boston Globe today on a table in Starbucks. On the front page is a story of interest to my favorite audiophile. I thought about posting it is its own topic, but I think there's probably only one person here who would be interested, so I may as well just put it right here for you:

Technology saves echoes of past from silence
By Jeremy Eichler | GLOBE STAFF APRIL 06, 2014

On a winter afternoon in early 2000, Carl Haber, a bearded man in his mid-40s, may have looked like any other collector as he walked into Down Home, a music store in El Cerrito, Calif., picked out a stack of 78-r.p.m. records, paid for them, and drove away.

But Haber is not a record collector. He is an experimental physicist. And rather than placing the 78s on a turntable, he did something that had surely never been done before in the long and warmly crackling history of the phonograph. He took them to his office at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and placed them under a pristine $10,000 Leica stereo zoom microscope.

What he saw delighted him, for one simple reason: There were clear and — critical to what he had in mind — measurable edges to the grooves.

A few weeks earlier, Haber had been casually listening to NPR when a story came on about the millions of early sound recordings that are deteriorating in the vaults of the Library of Congress and elsewhere. He learned that it was a race against time to digitize these recordings before they become unplayable. Some of them are so delicate they can no longer be touched with a traditional stylus.

“There was this ‘aha’ moment,” Haber recently recalled. “I realized here is a problem for physicists to try to solve.”

More than a decade later, Haber has won wide recognition, and a MacArthur Fellowship, for a revolutionary image-scanning technology that has the power to pull sound from rare and fragile recordings without touching them, and in so doing, to help protect some of the most vulnerable corners of this country’s aural heritage.

If nothing else, click through to check out that awesome picture!

I found that interesting as well

Hope they save as much as they can.

I would love to hear some original cakewalk music from the 1800's:


"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

jrd3820's picture

Michael that is an amazing article

I love it. I don't know where the brainpickings lady gets her recordings, but she has some Tolstoy, and AA Milne, and quite a few others.

I have a cousin that did some work in film restoration for a while. He got to work with some really old films. It was an interesting project.

Michael Nystrom's picture

One more for you from the same edition of the Globe

The museum of how work sounded
Torsten Nilsson’s quest to archive the noises of the industrial age
By Chris Wright | APRIL 06, 2014

AT THE MUSEUM OF WORK in the Swedish city of Norrköping, curator Torsten Nilsson oversees an unusual collection. Housed in an elegant old cotton mill, the museum displays everything from manufacturing equipment to tinned tomatoes, all part of an effort to “document working life and bring its history to life.” But last month, Nilsson began a quest to collect something less tangible. For an ambitious project called Work with Sounds, he and a handful of museum employees will visit sites across Europe to record what he calls “endangered” sounds of the industrial era.

The resulting archive of 600 recordings will focus exclusively on things that clang, screech, hiss, grind, roar, and clatter—that is, noises most of us try to avoid. Nilsson plans to spend two years building the collection, which will then be posted on a public website. “We have to record these things before they are gone,” he said recently, speaking from a rest area on his way back from recording a fence-making machine. “Nobody else is doing this in a systematic way.”

The preservation of sound is, in fact, a burgeoning discipline. In audio archives that are already online, you can hear jazz concerts at the Library of Congress, or listen to thousands of bird songs on the website of Cornell University’s Macaulay Library. British acoustics expert Trevor Cox just released a travelogue, “The Sound Book,” that pursues fascinating sounds from the bubbling mud pots of Iceland to the rock gongs of the Serengeti, while “sonic journalist” Peter Cusack has published a book and audio collection called “Sounds From Dangerous Places”—for example, from Caspian oil fields.


It seems that it is a great time to be an audiophile!

Michael Nystrom's picture

Suddenly became busy?

Suddenly became busy?

Inquiring minds want to know. What could possibly be more important that Maya Angelou's birthday?!?!

jrd3820's picture

The ultimate scrabble/anadrome tournament

There are 21 boards, we are 7 in. We played 8, but we had to do one over because I messed the board up and we couldn't get to the other side.

Ok, so 21 boards. He is up 7/7. I can still come back though. There is ample opportunity for me to make a come back.

I don't remember if I told you how intense I become about word games and how my real world friends won't play with me anymore because of my intensity, but well....it's true.

Oh! And I'm looking at a few coursera courses. And it looks like I'm going to have to find a piece of writing to submit somewhere because in the non tournament related game of scrabble I am playing and I wagered on...well, I think I lost.

I stop by brainpickings almost every day, and when I got there today I realized it had been 3 days!