Favorite Poem “Phenomenal Woman” By Maya Angelou

Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou is one of the powerful poems that represents the rise of hope and pride of a woman (especially African-American woman) despite the abuse, torture and neglect she has experienced. Instead of being ashamed or guilty or blaming herself, she has gained the hope and strength, which makes her the “Phenomenal Woman”. This is one self-confident woman with exceptionally strong compelling persona and very high self-esteem, who loves herself in spite of the discrimination and the exploitation from society and people. The poem uses a special and repetitious pattern in each stanza, e.g. the stanza begins with a description of society’s reaction to the woman as they notice her. These reactions are all categorized by wonderment about the vivacious woman, why she is so happy and what others see in her. Ms. Angelou expresses her feeling of a hidden frustration and anger at the society who questions the subject’s self-confidence and strength.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As always, this poem, by Ms. Angelou, is based on Poet’s personal experiences intertwined with the social issues faced by minorities in general, although not unique to only Women and African-Americans – the topic often disregarded and unexplored by many. The important point made in this poem is that despite the discriminatory treatment, the strength and pride of the subject, Phenomenal Woman, builds and rises in all proportions from the venomous neglect she receives. This is one of my favorite poems, for its strong inspirational message of determination and will power to fight and conquer the injustice, and not to give in at any cost.

I am pleased to share this poem with the readers of my blog.



Massachusetts, February 5, 2014.

Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate.

Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate.

Cover of "Phenomenal Woman"

Cover of Phenomenal Woman

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 for my care.
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

English: Maya Angelou reciting her poem, "...

Ms. Maya Angelou reciting her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning”, at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maya Angelou: Quote on Courage.

dshenai.wordpress.com © 2013

About Deodatta Shenai-Khatkhate

Scientist by profession, with education from various Universities in India, England, Scotland, and U.S.A. Interests include Literature, Music, Photography, Social service, and understanding different cultures.
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16 Responses to Favorite Poem “Phenomenal Woman” By Maya Angelou

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  6. I love that poem and she, the phenomenal poet.


  7. Deo she is one of my favorite poets. My favorite of hers is I know why the caged bird sings. It is indicative of my life. It’s amazing how people can write out your life in stanza! :)


    • You know something, it’s my favorite too. I planned to write about it several times, and surely I will do it soon. It’s one of the best and one can always identify with the deep emotions therein at certain phases of one’s life….the caged bird is not fictional at all!

      Thanks for your great feedback – as always!


  8. SIPHESIHLE says:



  9. Tamia Fields says:


    Liked by 1 person

  10. lucy zhanje says:

    i love e poem


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