Maya Angelou has been dead long enough. As someone who still owes money on my student loan for my BA in literature with a concentration in lyrical poetry, I declare it fine to make fun of her now. Here we go:
On Tuesday, the USPS unveiled a limited-edition stamp intended to honor the late poet Maya Angelou, featuring her beaming smile and a choice quotation to fill the frame. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer,” reads the stamp, “it sings because it has a song.”
The only problem? That’s not a Maya Angelou quote. That particular birdie quote was by someone named Joan Walsh Anglund. It was the 70′s. We were all talking about birds, pretty much all the time. That, and our hair.
Here’s the response from the USPS:
“Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelou’s] many other works. … The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity.”
In other words: Meh. Sounds pretty Maya Angelou-ish to me. I guess it’s a problem, but . . . meh.
And that there is pretty much all you need to know about the poetry of Maya Angelou, the most meh-worthy poet ever to say miscellaneous things about birds and whatnot.