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Maya Angelou Quotes and Poems

Updated on October 7, 2014

Welcome to Maya Angelou Quotes and Poems

Maya Angelou is a famous American autobiographer and poet who is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes which tell the story of her childhood and early adult experiences. Here is a collection of Maya Angelou quotes on love, success, achievement, courage and life. Get inspired by Maya's beautiful words and wisdom.

Maya Angelou Poems

This poem entitled "A Brave and Startling Truth" was written for the United Nations 50th Anniversity

A Brave and Startling Truth

We, unaccustomed to courage exiles from delight

live coiled in shells of loneliness

until love leaves its high holy temple

and comes into our sight

to liberate us into life.

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.

Love costs all we are and will ever be.

Yet it is only love which sets us free.

A Brave and Startling Truth.

It is possible and imperative that we discover

A brave and startling truth.

When we come to it

We, this people, on this wayward, floating body

Created on this earth, of this earth

Have the power to fashion for this earth

A climate where every man and every woman

Can live freely without sanctimonious piety

And without crippling fear

When we come to it

We must confess that we are the possible

We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world

That is when, and only when

We come to it.

A Selection of Maya Angelou Poems

Maya Angelou Quotes On Love

If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.

~Maya Angelou

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.

~Maya Angelou

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.

~Maya Angelou

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

~Maya Angelou

Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.

~Maya Angelou

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.

~Maya Angelou

The honorary duty of a human being is to love.

~Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes On Courage

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

~Maya Angelou

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.

~Maya Angelou

Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

~Maya Angelou

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

~Maya Angelou

I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.

~Maya Angelou

Courage allows the successful woman to fail and learn powerful lessons-

from the failure- so that in the end, she didn't fail at all.

~Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes On Life

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.

~Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

~Maya Angelou

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

~Maya Angelou

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ''I'm with you kid. Let's go.'

~Maya Angelou

My life has been one great big joke, a dance that's walked a song that's spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.

~Maya Angelou

There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.

"love life, engage in it, give it all you've got. love it with a passion, because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it".

~Maya Angelou

I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life.

~Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Quotes On Attitude, Success and Achievement

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Attitude

Nothing will work unless you do.

~Maya Angelou Quotes on Success

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Attitude

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Success

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.

~Maya Angelou Quotes on Success

Success is loving life and daring to live it.

~Maya Angelou Quotes on Success

Troubles are a blessing that force you to change, to believe.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Success

Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Achievement

I can be changed by what happens to me. but I refuse to be reduced by it.

~Maya Angelou Quotes on Success

Don't bring negative to my door.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Attitude

Look for the beauty in things.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Attitude

All great achievements require time.

~Maya Angelou Quotes on Achievement

Achievement brings its own anticlimax.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Achievement

Maya Angelou Quotes On Education

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

~Maya Angelou

My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.

~Maya Angelou

Education helps one case cease being intimidated by strange situations.

~Maya Angelou

Other Maya Angelou Quotes

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On Giving

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

~Maya Angelou

While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.

~Maya Angelou Quotes On God

When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor's gift.

~Maya Angelou

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

~Maya Angelou

It is this belief in a power larger than myself and other than myself which allows me to venture into the unknown and even the unknowable.

~Maya Angelou

See, you don't have to think about doing the right thing if you are for the right thing then you'll do it without thinking.

~Maya Angelou

The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear.

~Maya Angelou Quotes About Friendship

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.

~Maya Angelou

What's your favorite Maya Angelou Quote or Poem? Why? How has it inspired you? Share your thoughts here.

Thanks for Visiting

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Aloha, My grandfather was an amazing black poet as well. His name was Frank Marshall Davis, blues poet. I have always admired the words that have given way to so many different feeling. Thank you Maya, thank you for bringing back an old memory. Was just browsing, to advertise by business. And i found a gem, thank you.

    • chaplainkathy profile image


      5 years ago

      Such an inspiring lens and such an inspiring person! Excellent job! Love this lens!

    • ayng29 lm profile image

      ayng29 lm 

      6 years ago

      I love "I am a Christian". It's so sincere and true.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thanks for sharing these wonderful maya angelou quotes with people like I and maya I hope to meet you one day

    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Maya Angelou is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing some of her wonderful words of wisdom.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 

      6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Maya Angelou's "I the dust I rise!

      Ms. Angelou is a gem and the beauty of her poetry would make a Diamond-Cutter shy!

    • Hana4 profile image


      7 years ago

      I just love Maya's bird quotes and her caged bird novel, Maya's a real living legend and your lens is great!

    • Louis Wery profile image

      Louis Wery 

      8 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      Thank you for creating this resource. I treasure meeting Dr. Angelou when she spoke in Sarasota on the west coast of Florida USA several years ago.

    • worldbuilder lm profile image

      worldbuilder lm 

      9 years ago

      Maya is awesome. Great job here. 5*'s and lensrolled.

    • DawnMathisenakaC profile image


      9 years ago

      Maya rocks and you did an awesome job of compiling a lot of her greatest quotes and information! 5* and thanks for an enjoyable Maya fan to another!

    • SerenityPrayerG profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent Maya quotes! Thanks for sharing! :-)


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