Even the Stars Look Lonesome, by Maya Angelou


Even the Stars Look Lonesome is Maya Angelou's second book, a collection of 20 short mostly autobiographical essays. Along with her first book, “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,” it is referred to as a book of homilies or “wisdom books.”

In one essay Angelou's friend Oprah Winfrey is the subject of one of the essays where she compares her to "the desperate traveler who teaches us the most profound lesson and affords us the most exquisite skills" She also defends her support of Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court Justice. In her final essay, Angelou uses the story of the prodigal son to emphasize the value of solitude: "In the silence we listen to ourselves. Then we ask questions of ourselves. We describe ourselves to ourselves, and we may even hear the voice of God.”

She said of the book: “I have written of the black American experience, which I know intimately. I am always talking about the human condition in general and about society in particular. What it is like to be human, and American, what makes us weep, what makes us fall and stumble and somehow rise and go on.”

Angelou speaks with a strong voice about her own sensuality, marriage, and a lifetime of racism and violence. She finds resonance and meaning in the richness of Africa and its culture and art. Her own art is in sharing with us the perceptions she has gained in her life journey.

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Quotes by Maya Angelou

“My mother raised me, and then freed me,” 

“Be wary when a naked person offers you his shirt.” 

“The trouble for the thief is not how to steal the chief's bugle, but where to blow it,”

 “She was born poor and powerless in a land where power is money and money is adored. Born black in a land where might is white and white is adored.
Born female in a land where decisions are masculine and masculinity controls.” 

“If it is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, isn't it also true a society is only as healthy as its sickest citizen and only as wealthy as its most deprived