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Maya Angelou addresses a large crowd of students at Boston College's Robsham Theater Arts Center in the 1980s. (Burns Library, Boston College)

Growing Up Maya Angelou

The famed writer discusses her childhood, her writing and the importance of family

I’m happy to be a writer, of prose, poetry, every kind of writing. Every person in the world who isn’t a recluse, hermit or mute uses words. I know of no other art form that we always use. So the writer has to take the most used, most familiar objects—nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs—ball them together and make them bounce, turn them a certain way and make people get into a romantic mood; and another way, into a bellicose mood. I’m most happy to be a writer.

Editor's Note (April 4, 2013): This interview, published in 2003, was originally headlined to commemorate Angelou's 75th birthday.

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