“Still I Rise” is a poem by the American civil rights activist and writer Maya Angelou. One of Angelou's most acclaimed works, the poem was published in Angelou’s third poetry collection And Still I Rise in 1978. Broadly speaking, the poem is an assertion of the dignity and resilience of marginalized people in the face of oppression. Because Angelou often wrote about blackness and black womanhood, "Still I Rise" can also be read more specifically as a critique of anti-black racism.
You may write ...
... dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness ...
... my living room.
Just like moons ...
... Still I'll rise.
Did you want ...
... my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness ...
... my own backyard.
You may shoot ...
... air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness ...
... of my thighs?
Out of the ...
... in the tide.
Leaving behind nights ...
... of the slave.
I rise ...
... I rise.
Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.
"Still I Rise" and Today's America — Read about the relevance and meaning of "Still I Rise" to America today.
The Political Power of "Still I Rise" — Learn how the poem has remained relevant for contemporary political figures and celebrities.
"Still I Rise" Art Exhibit — Learn how other artists have been inspired by and responded to Angelou's poem.
Maya Angelou Recites "Still I Rise" — Listen to the poet read "Still I Rise" aloud.
"Still I Rise" Music Video — Watch a video that creatively integrates Angelou's recitation of the poem with relevant images.
1You may write me down in history
2With your bitter, twisted lies,
3You may trod me in the very dirt
4But still, like dust, I'll rise.
5Does my sassiness upset you?
6Why are you beset with gloom?
7’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
8Pumping in my living room.
9Just like moons and like suns,
10With the certainty of tides,
11Just like hopes springing high,
12Still I'll rise.
13Did you want to see me broken?
14Bowed head and lowered eyes?
15Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
16Weakened by my soulful cries?
17Does my haughtiness offend you?
18Don't you take it awful hard
19’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
20Diggin’ in my own backyard.
21You may shoot me with your words,
22You may cut me with your eyes,
23You may kill me with your hatefulness,
24But still, like air, I’ll rise.
25Does my sexiness upset you?
26Does it come as a surprise
27That I dance like I've got diamonds
28At the meeting of my thighs?
29Out of the huts of history’s shame
31Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
33I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
34Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
35Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
37Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
39Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
40I am the dream and the hope of the slave.