All posts tagged RIP

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

Maya Angelou

Today we have lost a literary icon, an American treasure, a poet, author and inspiration, Maya Angelou. In her honor, let’s remember her as only we can, in her own words…

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


 Photo credit: Burns Library, Boston College

Tuesday Tunes: Oh Amy…

This weekend, we lost another great artist, musician, human to the demons she just couldn’t shake. Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London flat on Saturday and, while nobody could really say they are shocked at the turn her story took, I think many would agree that it was a tragic end to a life that had so much more to give.

It’s true that her life came to be a string of sad stories and a light dwindling right in front of our eyes. But from the first moment I heard her music, I became enamored with her.  Her voice, her pain–there was so much power and so much hurt. And it was something so many could relate to.  She seemed to come from a different world when she opened her mouth to sing.  Even as the news of her antics and bad behavior came to dominate the coverage of her, I was always hoping something in her, or someone around her, could pull her out of whatever was holding her hostage and she would return to us.

Perhaps the most poignant tribute to Amy has come from someone we probably wouldn’t expect it from. Russell Brand has faced many of the same demons of addiction that ultimately got the better of Amy, and I think he sums up her life, and the life of an addict, better than any of us could.  I encourage you to read it here. 

With all of that in mind, I do hope we can remember her for the tremendous talent she had, and the music she created that will forever enrich our lives.

Without further ado, the lady, the legend herself…Miss Amy Winehouse.

Back to Black, live at SXSW 2008

You Know I’m No Good, live acoustic

Tears Dry On Their Own, Live in London

Amy, we will never forget you. I hope you have finally found the peace you couldn’t find here on earth.

photo by Daniel Arnold
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