"You may shoot me with your
My heart was heavy yesterday morning when I heard that Maya Angelou had died. She was an activist and an artist and a survivor. She influenced people and movements and a mixed race kid like me, trying to figure out my life. To me Maya Angelou was a poet, because hers was the first poetry I read on my own. I first encountered her poetry in my junior high school library. When I joined the Forensics (public speaking) Team, I began doing oral interpretations of her poetry. I am convinced her words got me to place during high school in the state competition.
My thrill at learning that she was a university professor at Wake Forest was scuttled by my inability to find time to take her classes (the load of a Biology/Religion double major was a little heavy). One semester, I worked up my courage to approach her and plead my case for being allowed to audit her class on poetry reading. I remember her looking at me over her glasses and saying, “Biology and religion, now poetry. Are you trying to change the world?”
I don’t remember what answer I gave; I’m not even sure that I had an answer. But she let me audit her class and it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken.