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College Language Association Maya Angelou: Toward a Criticism Worthy of Its Subject Author(s): Cheryl A. Wall Source: CLA Journal, Vol. 58, No. 1/2, SPECIAL ISSUE: The Legacies of Maya Angelou (SEPTEMBER/DECEMBER 2014), pp. 1-9 Published by: College Language Association Stable URL: Accessed: 15-07-2019 13:29 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at College Language Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to CLA Journal This content downloaded from 218.252.42.239 on Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:29:33 UTC All use subject to
Dr. Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014 »-4 I @ ą r§o a £ g o Si This content downloaded from 218.252.42.239 on Mon, 15 Jul 2019 13:29:33 UTC All use subject to
Maya Angelou: Toward a Criticism Worthy of Its Subject Cheryl A. Wall Thirty is over years with before me, I want her death, to say Maya to it as Angelou you would told say an to interviewer, a lover, or a "When friend, life or is over with me, I want to say to it as you would say to a lover, or a friend, or a child: 'Goodbye! It's been a ball . . . truly. And thank you.'"1 Those who mourned her passing on May 28, 2014, expressed profound gratitude for Angelous life and the élan and courage with which she lived it. Presidents and former presidents, writers and musicians, activists and actors, talk-show hosts and ordinary people around the world paid homage to her memory. Large public services were held in Wake Forest, North Carolina, New York City, and San Francisco. Visual images of Angelou circulated in mass media, and her voice, instantly recognizable and resonant, echoed across the airwaves. The Academy Awards, the Grammys, and the New York Times marked her passing in their annual memorial tributes. In April 2015, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp. Angelou was an indisputably iconic figure, but it was the depth of the personal connection people felt to her that was most moving. Admirers posted and reposted her poems in social media. Readers tweeted and testified to the power of Angelous example, the inspiration they took from her writing, the ways that reading her made them understand their own lives and inspired in them the sense of limitless possibility that characterized hers. The overflow of tributes to the transformative power of Angelous art and persona contrasts sharply with the relative dearth of academic criticism devoted to her work. One of the most prolific and commercially successful black writers in history, she published thirty-six books in her lifetime.2 Yet, there have been

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