This is Maya Angelou's second volume of poems and her poetry is just as much a part of her autobiography as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name. She writes deceptively simple songs of experience that are disarming because there isn't any conventional persona between her and you when she says "Come. And Be My Baby." She's a funky kind of mother with a lowdown wisdom of the heart, which may be why you open to her sentiment. Mostly these are poems about and for people, especially children. Like "John J.," whose momma didn't want him or "Little Girl Speakings" which makes something special of the contention that "Ain't nobody better's my Daddy." There's one about "The Telephone" that never rings when you need it; and a number of rhymed and repetitive lyrics that might almost be incantations to comfort the lonely. It's all so damned artless, there's just no accounting for how strong she is, except to say Maya's got the gift.