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Celebrations

Cover of Celebrations

Celebrations

Rituals of Peace and Prayer
Borrow
Grace, dignity, and eloquence have long been hallmarks of Maya Angelou's poetry. Her measured verses have stirred our souls, energized our minds, and healed our hearts. Whether offering hope in the darkest of nights or expressing sincere joy at the extraordinariness of the everyday, Maya Angelou has served as our common voice.
Celebrations is a collection of timely and timeless poems that are an integral part of the global fabric. Several works have become nearly as iconic as Angelou herself: the inspiring "On the Pulse of Morning," read at President William Jefferson Clinton's 1993 inauguration; the heartening "Amazing Peace," presented at the 2005 lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House; "A Brave and Startling Truth," which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations; and "Mother," which beautifully honors the first woman in our lives. Angelou writes of celebrations public and private, a bar mitzvah wish to her nephew, a birthday greeting to Oprah Winfrey, and a memorial tribute to the late Luther Vandross and Barry White.
More than a writer, Angelou is a chronicler of history, an advocate for peace, and a champion for the planet, as well as a patriot, a mentor, and a friend. To be shared and cherished, the wisdom and poetry of Maya Angelou proves there is always cause for celebration.
From the Hardcover edition.
Grace, dignity, and eloquence have long been hallmarks of Maya Angelou's poetry. Her measured verses have stirred our souls, energized our minds, and healed our hearts. Whether offering hope in the darkest of nights or expressing sincere joy at the extraordinariness of the everyday, Maya Angelou has served as our common voice.
Celebrations is a collection of timely and timeless poems that are an integral part of the global fabric. Several works have become nearly as iconic as Angelou herself: the inspiring "On the Pulse of Morning," read at President William Jefferson Clinton's 1993 inauguration; the heartening "Amazing Peace," presented at the 2005 lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House; "A Brave and Startling Truth," which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations; and "Mother," which beautifully honors the first woman in our lives. Angelou writes of celebrations public and private, a bar mitzvah wish to her nephew, a birthday greeting to Oprah Winfrey, and a memorial tribute to the late Luther Vandross and Barry White.
More than a writer, Angelou is a chronicler of history, an advocate for peace, and a champion for the planet, as well as a patriot, a mentor, and a friend. To be shared and cherished, the wisdom and poetry of Maya Angelou proves there is always cause for celebration.
From the Hardcover edition.
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    A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

    Dedicated to the hope for peace, which lies,
    sometimes hidden, in every heart.

    We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
    Traveling through casual space
    Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent
    suns
    To a destination where all signs tell us
    It is possible and imperative that we learn
    A brave and startling truth.
    And when we come to it
    To the day of peacemaking
    When we release our fingers
    From fists of hostility
    When we come to it

    When the curtain falls on the minstrel show
    of hate
    And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed
    clean
    When battlefields and coliseum
    No longer rake our unique and particular
    sons and daughters
    Up with the bruised and bloody grass
    To lay them in identical plots in foreign soil
    When the rapacious storming of the churches
    The screaming racket in the temples have
    ceased
    When the pennants are waving gaily
    When the banners of the world tremble
    Stoutly in a good, clean breeze

    When we come to it
    When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
    And our children can dress their dolls in flags
    of truce
    When land mines of death have been removed
    And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
    When religious ritual is not perfumed
    By the incense of burning flesh
    And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
    By nightmares of sexual abuse
    When we come to it
    Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
    With their stones set in mysterious perfection
    Nor the Gardens of Babylon
    Hanging as eternal beauty
    In our collective memory
    Not the Grand Canyon
    Kindled into delicious color
    By Western sunsets
    Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into
    Europe
    Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
    Stretching to the Rising Sun
    Neither Father Amazon nor Mother
    Mississippi
    who, without favor,
    Nurtures all creatures in their depths and on
    their shores
    These are not the only wonders of
    the world

    When we come to it
    We, this people, on this minuscule globe
    Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade,
    and the dagger
    Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of
    peace
    We, this people, on this mote of matter
    In whose mouths abide cankerous words
    Which challenge our very existence
    Yet out of those same mouths
    Can come songs of such exquisite sweetness
    That the heart falters in its labor
    And the body is quieted into awe
    We, this people, on this small and drifting
    planet

    Whose hands can strike with such abandon
    That, in a twinkling, life is sapped from the
    living
    Yet those same hands can touch with such
    healing,
    irresistible tenderness,
    That the haughty neck is happy to bow
    And the proud back is glad to bend
    Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
    We learn that we are neither devils nor
    divines
    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
    Without crippling fear
    When we come to it
    We must confess that we are the possible
    We are the miraculous, we are the true
    wonder of this world
    That is when, and only when,
    We come to it.


    From the Hardcover edition.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Maya Angelou's poetry has been a vibrant presence in America for many years and has been brought into the spotlight on occasions such as President Bill Clinton's inauguration. In this collection of poems, including that inaugural offering, "On the Pulse of the Morning," the selections are united by the common theme of celebration rituals, both public and private. These are poems that are meant to be read aloud, and who better than the author? In Angelou's distinctive voice, this short presentation draws on the author's fortitude and joy, and on her feeling of inherent hope at being able to reach out to the world and the diverse humans who share it. J.E.M. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Celebrations
Celebrations
Rituals of Peace and Prayer
Maya Angelou
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