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Maya Angelou and Sonnet 29

Every time I sit down to write, I want to write about Kanye West but I don’t because I’m saving him for something special. Like I’m saving Ruth Park. Like I’m saving John Steinbeck. Anne Tyler. Like I once saved Colin Thiele.

But I want to say that Kanye West must be a sixteen year old single mother from Hackham West, south of south of south Australia.

This is paraphrasing what Maya Angelou said about Shakespeare. She said that Shakespeare must have been a struggling black woman in the USA because of how well he captured her inner longings in Sonnet 29.

Read this, out loud, in your mind:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself, and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d, Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate; For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare

Kanye West, David Bowie, James Joyce, Dorrit Black and unknown

Can this be the answer to those who want to say who can and can’t write, sing, wear, dance to, make Art about, or even say, what? Shakespeare spoke to Angelou; West spoke to me.

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