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EVEN THE STARS LOOK LONESOME by Maya Angelou Kirkus Star


by Maya Angelou

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-375-50031-6
Publisher: Random House

Angelou's (All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, 1986, etc.) sixth work of autobiographical reflection again treads ballerina-like on the fine line dividing saying too much and not enough on a variety of heartfelt subjects. These compelling pieces span the full range of Angelou's concerns. In "Poetic Passage," she speaks with admiration of the "desperate traveler who teaches us the most profound lesson and affords us the most exquisite thrills. She touches us with her boldness and vulnerability, for her sole preparation is the fierce determination to leave wherever she is." No words could better describe the impact of Angelou's writing at its best. Whether she is exploring the intimacies of marriage or the passages of sensuality throughout a woman's lifetime, raging against racism and violence or celebrating the richness of Africa and its tribal art and culture, she is herself ever the "eager traveler." Angelou's senses never take a vacation from her intellect; together they take her to a wide variety of places: her home in North Carolina, a beach in Mexico, a nightclub in New York. They explore, among other things, the complementary experiences of performing in an opera while traveling in Morocco and of standing alone on a stage and singing the spirituals she first learned as a young girl. In one piece, Angelou recalls poems learned in her youth, chants that brightened the dark skies of the Depression in the rural South. "Art encourages us," she says "to stand erect and stretch upward toward the higher ground." Angelou is always rewarded by what life gives back in her travels, and in sharing with us such perceptions chanced upon in rich solitude, she startles with her frank, fresh ability to relate in precise prose whatever she learns.