Maya Angelou, Mother; A Cradle to Hold Me (New York: Random House, 2006), 32pp.
I checked out this book from our public library because I was intrigued by the notion of a tiny "book" the entire content of which is one, short poem by one of our country's most famous writers. In addition to her autobiographical works, Maya Angelou has published five volumes of poetry, and has read her work ("On the Pulse of Morning") at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. There is no foreword, preface, afterword, bibliography, or any explanatory notes to "Mother," just the brief poem itself. If you did not stop to ponder and meditate, you could read the poem in five minutes. But that would be a shame. Angelou's poem evokes the grace and power of our mothers, and our experience of them beginning as babies, then proceeding through childhood, teenage rebellion, and then adulthood. My mother died a year ago and Angelou's poetry renewed my gratitude and admiration for her.