Structure The poem comprises quatrains, that is four-lined stanzas, but after the seventh the regularity of the structure is abandoned.
The eighth and ninth stanzas comprise six and nine lines respectively, indicting the poet’s freedom from constraints.
Maya Angelou's poem "Phenomenal Woman" is a response to the abusive events experienced by the writer, which is displayed through the image and tone of the poem.
Instead of feeling ashamed and blaming herself, she used the experience as motivation to gain hope.
No matter how badly beaten and disrespected black women like Hurston and Angelou and others are, they still rise up and resist oppression.
It is an assertive statement of resilience and confidence.
Angelou uses such imagery to give the readers a bet...
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise. Just like suns and like moons, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise. Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
The repetition of ‘I rise’ is also a statement of liberation.
The ABCB rhyming system is abandoned, so that stanza eight forms an ABABCC rhyming pattern, and stanza nine ABABCCBBB.