Deciphering Maya Angelou: Challenges in Poetic Exploration

Categories: Maya Angelou


Diving into the depths of poet Maya Angelou's world was an intricate journey that not only unfolded her personal life but also exposed the nuances of her distinct writing styles and techniques. While Maya Angelou stands as an extraordinary individual, projecting the image of a strong, independent woman, the research project on her, unfortunately, became a somewhat tedious endeavor. This exploration, while revealing, also brought to light the challenges of sourcing literary criticism for one of the world's greatest poets, adding an unexpected layer of complexity and monotony to the assignment.

Challenges in Research

Maya Angelou, undoubtedly one of the universe’s most controversial poets, encapsulates a life rich in experiences, seamlessly translated onto the canvas of her literary works. However, the research task presented a formidable challenge: the demand for two pieces of literary criticism. The profound nature of Angelou's writing made finding complete critical analyses a near-impossible feat. Instead, the journey led to encounters with disparaging comments on forums and general summaries that scarcely scratched the surface of her profound work.

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The assignment, thus, unfolded as a time-consuming and frustrating pursuit.

Ambiguity in Assignment Instructions

The ambiguity embedded in the assignment instructions further complicated the endeavor. Deciphering the expectations surrounding the incorporation of two original poems proved to be particularly perplexing. The assignment lacked clarity on whether the poems should emulate Angelou's style or be a manifestation of the student's own voice. This uncertainty translated into self-fabricated poems that, much like Angelou's free-form style, lacked a discernible structure.

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The confusion in instructions added an unnecessary layer of complexity to an already intricate task.

Redundancy and Duplication

The assignment's demand for duplication and redundancy became a central point of contention. Requiring two or more examples of biographies, literary analyses, or original poems felt gratuitous. Whether seeking information on biographies or literary analyses, the repetitive nature of the assignment became mundane and posed challenges in amalgamating the details into a coherent essay. The need for two examples in each category overshadowed the essence of the assignment, leaving the student grappling with the sense of purpose behind such duplicative demands.

Insufficient Analysis of Angelou's Work

Despite the enlightening aspect of learning about Maya Angelou, the project's structure limited the depth of analysis that could be conducted on a single poem. The constraints of summarizing a prolific poet's notions into a single paragraph felt restrictive and fell short of providing a comprehensive understanding of Angelou's profound expressions. The assignment, focusing more on the poet than the poetry, missed an opportunity to delve deeply into the intricacies of Angelou's techniques, schemes, and the profound meanings embedded in her verses.

Recommendations for Future Assignments

Looking ahead, there's a strong case for future assignments to adopt a more focused approach. A suggestion is to craft essays based solely on one poem by an author, supplementing it with a brief paragraph of biographical information. This streamlined approach would allow students to explore a poet's techniques and deeper meanings more thoroughly, without the unnecessary repetition and redundancy that marred the current assignment. Such a structure could pave the way for a more insightful and meaningful exploration of the chosen poet's work.


The journey into Maya Angelou's world was undoubtedly enlightening, unveiling a poet who shines a strong light on herself, setting her apart from the rest. However, the project's structure and demands obscured the potential for a more profound assessment of one poem. A more focused and streamlined approach, emphasizing depth over duplication, would undoubtedly offer students a more enriching exploration of the poet's profound contributions to the world of literature.

Updated: Dec 29, 2023
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Deciphering Maya Angelou: Challenges in Poetic Exploration. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from

Deciphering Maya Angelou: Challenges in Poetic Exploration essay
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