Poem of the Week S01 E26: Still I rise, by Maya Angelou. Read by Sara Bennett

A holiday as fundamental to the United States’ perception of itself as Maya Angelou is to African American literature. Although recently deceased in 2014, her art and her activism have cemented her place as a colossus of Black America. She was also, naturally, a comrade and contemporary of not only Martin Luther King Jr. but of Malcolm X too. To celebrate Dr. King, we chose Still I Rise, at once a lament and battlecry and for African American experience, and one of Angelou’s most famous poems. This week’s poem is read by Sara Bennett, a fellow American, ardent anti-Trump supporter and the general manager of Fighting Words’ Dublin branch, an organisation so good, it deserves to a little mention here as well. Founded in 2009, Fighting Words provides free tutoring and mentoring in creative writing and related arts to as many children, young adults and adults with special needs as we can reach. The aim is to help children and young people, and adults who did not have this opportunity as children, to discover and harness the power of their own imaginations and creative writing skills. By using the creative practice of writing and storytelling, the hope is that each storyteller will begn to develop a sense of their own resilience and confidence, as well as creativity. 

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Poem of the Week invites you to listen to contributors recite some of their favorite poems and talk about what these poems mean to them. Presented by Morgan O’Reilly, this podcast series, originally broadcast on Near FM 2017/18, features some of Ireland’s most exciting new voices such as Jessica Traynor, Kate Dempsey, Kenneth Nolan and Alan Jude Moore alongside local people and community activists from the North Dublin area, this series offers a unique and diverse range of contributors. 

Each week the featured poem will also commemorate a significant date in the calendar year fostering new and challenging perspectives into poems you thought you knew. The poems have been selected with the advice and support of Ireland’s former Professor of Poetry, Paula Meehan.