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The Heart of a Woman [Paperback]

By Maya Angelou (Author)
Our Price $ 5.94  
Retail Value $ 6.99  
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Item Number 156359  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.85" Width: 4.18" Height: 0.81"
Weight:   0.31 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 1984
Publisher   Bantam
ISBN  0553246895  
EAN  9780553246896  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Mass Market Paperback $ 6.99 $ 5.94 156359
Paperback $ 16.00 $ 13.60 2205036 In Stock
Item Description...
In the fourth volume of her autobiography, the author describes her experiences as a singer-dancer in New York and her impressions of the Civil Rights movement

Publishers Description
Maya Angelou has fascinated, moved, and inspired  countless readers with the first three volumes of  her autobiography, one of the most remarkable  personal narratives of our age. Now, in her fourth  volume, The Heart of a Woman, her  turbulent life breaks wide open with joy as the  singer-dancer enters the razzle-dazzle of fabulous  New York City. There, at the Harlem Writers Guild,  her love for writing blazes anew.

Her  compassion and commitment lead her to respond to the  fiery times by becoming the northern coordinator  of Martin Luther King's history-making quest. A  tempestuous, earthy woman, she promises her heart to  one man only to have it stolen, virtually on her  weding day, by a passionate African freedom  fighter.

Filled with unforgettable vignettes of  famous characters, from Billie Holiday to Malcolm  X, The Heart of a Woman sings  with Maya Angelou's eloquent prose -- her fondest  dreams, deepest disappointments, and her dramatically  tender relationship with her rebellious teenage  son. Vulnerable, humorous, tough, Maya speaks with  an intimate awareness of the heart within all of  us.
"Remarkable... a great lady moving right on  through a great memoir." -- Kirkus  Reviews
Poet, writer, performer, teacher and director Maya Angelou was raised in Stamps, Arkansas, and then went to San Francisco. In addition to her bestselling autobiographies, beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she has also written five poetry collections, including I Shall Not Be Moved and Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?, as well as the celebrated poem "On the Pulse of Morning," which she read at the inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Memoirist, novelist, poet, and dramatist, Maya Angelou is one of the best-loved writers of our time.  She is widely acclaimed for her searing, inspiring writings--and she has been praised for confronting both the racial and sexual pressures on black women, and for infusing her work with a perspective on larger social and political movements, including civil rights.

In the volumes of her bestselling personal story--one of the most remarkable narratives ever shared--Maya Angelou writes about the struggles and triumphs of her extraordinary life with candor, humor, poignancy, and grace. These include:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The classic autobiography of her young years.

Gather Together In My Name

The coming-of-age story of her struggle for survival as a young unwed mother.  

Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas

The saga of her show business career, her failed marriage, and her early motherhood.

The Heart of a Woman

The turbulent story of her emergence as a writer and a political activist.

Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now

Her exhilarating collection of wisdom, spirituality, and life lessons.

1. What is the significance of Maya quitting show business to become a civil rights activist?

2. Maya's husband Make is a freedom fighter--yet he treats Maya as a possession. Why do you think Maya stays with him? Do you think Make sees his own hypocrisy, and why or why not?

3. When approached by a friendly stranger, Maya's mother remarks, "He's colored and I'm colored, but we are not cousins." What episodes in the memoir might evoke the same response from Maya?

4. The memoir concludes with a poignant scene, as Guy bids farewell to Maya before he goes to college. Guy is characteristically wise, brave, and mature for his years. What do his parting words say about his perceived role in their relationship? How has Maya's role changed?

The Harlem Writer's Guild was meeting at John's house, and my palms were sweating and my tongue was thick.  The loosely formed organization, without  dues or membership cards, had one strict rule: any invited guest could sit in  for three meetings, but thereafter, the visitor had to read from his or her  work in progress.  My time had come.

Sara Wright and Sylvester Leeks  stood in a corner talking softly.  John Clarke was staring at titles in the  bookcase.  Mary Delaney and Millie Jordan were giving their coats to Grace  and exchanging greetings.  The other writers were already seated around the  living room in a semicircle.

John Killens walked past me, touching my  shoulder, took his seat and called the meeting to order.

"O.K.,  everybody.  Let's start." Chairs scraped the floor and the sounds  reverberated in my armpits.  "As you know, our newest member, our California  singer, is going to read from her new play.  What's the title,  Maya?"

"One Love, One Life."  My usually deep voice leaked out  high-pitched and weak.

A writer asked how many acts the play had.  I  answered again in the piping voice, "So far only one."

Everyone  laughed; they thought I was making a joke.

"If everyone is ready, we  can begin." John picked up his note pad.  There was a loud rustling as the  writers prepared to take notes.

I read the character and set  description despite the sudden perversity of my body.  The blood pounded in  my ears but not enough to drown the skinny sound of my voice.  My hands shook  so that I had to lay the pages in my lap, but that was not a good solution  due to the tricks my knees were playing.  They lifted voluntarily, pulling my  heels off the floor and then trembled like disturbed Jello.  Before I  launched into the play's action, I looked around at the writers expecting but  hoping not to see their amusement at my predicament.  Their faces were  studiously blank.  Within a year, I was to learn that each had a horror story  about a first reading at the Harlem Writers Guild.

Time wrapped itself  around every word, slowing me.  I couldn't force myself to read faster. The  pages seemed to be multiplying even as I was trying to reduce them.  The play  was dull, the characters, unreal, and the dialogue was taken entirely off the  back of a Campbell's soup can.  I knew this was my first and last time at the  Guild.  Even if I hadn't the grace to withdraw voluntarily, I was certain the  members had a method of separating the wheat from the chaff.

"The End."  At last.

The members laid their notes down beside their chairs  and a few got up to use the toilets.  No one spoke.  Even as I read I knew  the drama was bad, but maybe someone would have lied a little.

The  room filled.  Only the whispering of papers shifting told me that the jury  was ready.

John Henrik Clarke, a taut little man from the South,  cleared his throat.  If he was to be the first critic, I knew I would receive  the worst sentence.  John Clarke was famous in the group for his keen  intelligence and bitter wit.  He had supposedly once told the FBI that they  were wrong to think that he would sell out his home state of Georgia; he added that he would give it away, and if he found no takers he would even pay  someone to take it.

"One Life.  One Love?"  His voice was a  rasp  of disbelief.  "I found no life and very little love in the play from the  opening of the act to its unfortunate end."

Using superhuman power, I  kept my mouth closed and my eyes on my yellow pad.

He continued, his  voice lifting.  "In 1879, on a March evening, Alexander Graham Bell  successfully completed his attempts to send the human voice through a little  wire.  The following morning  some frustrated playwright, unwilling to build  the necessary construction plot, began his play with a phone call."

A  general deprecating murmur floated in the air.

"Aw, John" and "Don't  be so mean" and "Ooo Johnnn, you ought to be ashamed."  Their moans were facetious, mere accompaniment to their relish.

Grace invited everyone  to drinks, and the crowd rose and started milling around, while I stayed in  my chair.

Grace called to me.  "Come on, Maya.  Have a drink. You  need it."  I grinned and knew movement was out of the question.

Killens came over.  "Good thing you stayed.  You got some very important criticism." He, too, could slide to hell straddling knotted greasy rope.   "Don't just sit there.  If they think you're too sensitive, you won't get  such valuable criticism the next time you read."

The next time? He  wasn't as bright as he looked.  I would never see those snotty bastards as  long as I stayed black and their asses pointed toward the ground.  I put a  nasty-sweet smile on my face and nodded.

"That's right, Maya Angelou,  show them you can take anything they can dish out.  Let me tell you  something." He started to sit down beside me, but mercifully another writer  called him away.

I measured the steps from my chair to the door. I  could make it in ten strides.

"Maya, you've got a story to  tell."

I looked up into John Clarke's solemn face.

"I think I  can speak for the Harlem Writer's Guild.  We're glad to have you.  John  Killens came back from California talking about your talent.  Well, in this  group we remind each other that talent is not enough.  You've got to work.   Write each sentence over and over again, until it seems you've used every  combination possible, then write it again.  Publishers don't care much for  white writers." He coughed or laughed.  "You can imagine what they think about black ones.  Come on.  Let's get a drink."

I got up and followed him without a first thought.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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More About Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-) is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, she is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, historian, producer, actor, director, filmmaker and civil rights activist. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she was raised there and in Stamps, Arkansas. By the mid-50s, she had become a dancer, touring Europe with a production of Porgy and Bess, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady, acted Off-Broadway for the first time and wrote Cabaret for Freedom. In the 1960's. she moved to Cairo and Ghana, editing, teaching and mastering a number of languages, returning in 1964 to America to work first with Malcolm X and then with Dr. Martin Luther King.
In the 1970s she wrote screenplays, composed scores, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize as a screenwriter, appeared on television and in films and published. She is renowned for her series of autobiographies, the most famous being "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," which was nominated for a National Book Award in 1970. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.
Dr. Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards. Dr. Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) was a British artist and designer associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts. His work was focused on ideals of beauty, and on art itself as an object of beauty.
Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in England where his work can be found in cathedrals.
Heavily inspired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti he was rediscovered in the 20th Century, and became the subject of major exhibitions in the late 20th Century at the Barbican Art Gallery London, Tate exhibit and on the 100th anniversary of his death at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1998, before traveling to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the MusEe d'Orsay, Paris.

Maya Angelou lived in Winston-Salem, in the state of North Carolina. Maya Angelou was born in 1928 and died in 2014.

Maya Angelou has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Modern Library (Hardcover)
  2. Penguin Classics
  3. Poetry for Young People (Hardcover)

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
~Enlightening Read~  May 25, 2008
Maya has such an impeccable method of penning and conveying her prose!! This was a wonderful installment in her biographical sequence(s). I recommend this book to ALL (those mature and aged enough to handle the sometimes-explicit subject matter) because it brings so many pieces of American history together in such a uniquely stated manner!
i luv it  May 13, 2008
i was so excited to get this book. it arrived fast and was in good condition. thank you
The Urban Book Source  Aug 13, 2007
Another slice of Maya Angleou's memoir, The Heart of a Woman, brings you through her hardships of raising her son Guy in California and continues during her move to New York City, her stint in the Harlem Writers guild, her intimate involvement in the Civil Rights movement, her marriage to South African Freedom Fighter, Vusumzi Make and subsequent move to Egypt, Ghana and ultimate divorce. A book that will speak to men and women on all levels, The Heart of a Woman is truly a phenomenal read.
The Heart of a Woman Laid Bare  Aug 6, 2007
I have just finished The Heart of a Woman and I could not put it down once I started it. Angelou lays bare for all of her readers her heart, her life and her truth. What an amazing life she has lived. I read some reviews that criticized her for her honesty in regards to whites during the 60s. It was the 60s, racial barriers where still up strong and bared anyone of color from living the lives they so richly deserved, why should she be criticized for this? Would it be better that she lied and said how wonderful life was for blacks in this country during that time? It wasn't and that is the point that she is making in this book. That is the point that she is making as an African American woman, called to the forefront in the battle of discrimination.
I had to look on the cover to see when she wrote this book, it was 1981, how sad that in 26yrs we still see white America carrying the flag of superiority! I am truly glad that Angelou is still walking this earth to see that though the gains for civil rights are slow coming they are coming,regardless of what her criticizers are saying. Because if they are criticizing her for telling it like it was, then there is still a long path to journey to get us beyond the need for civil rights.
If you want to know what the 60's Civil Rights movement & Aparthied in South Africa was about this book will give you an accurate picture of one womans involvement. Two thumbs up for Angelou!
disappointed  Jun 14, 2007
The heart of a woman was not an easy read for me, i just couldn't get into it, it did not grab my attention.

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