Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Maya Angelou's poem Phenomenal Woman


  1. Maria says:

    I love this poem.I read it the first time when my siseter bought me the book and dedicated this poem to me. Thank you Maya

  2. carlos says:

    thank you for making this poem

  3. Amanda Whitlock says:

    Im Seventeen with alot of boy problems. I use to think if i followed the crowd that i would fit in. Now i know that i dont need no boy to tell me that i am beuatyful. Thank you for writing this amazing poem.

  4. c says:

    her poem clothes is veyr good it explain to me what the clothes i wear and shoes i wear really mean and it’s a good thing to know for us black people what’s going on and to learn what the real deal is and she explained it very clearly and she told the truth

  5. chloe says:

    that is a awesome poem! it makes me feel like no matter what i am beautiful! thank you thank you

  6. karen says:

    this poem is pretty much my role model i try to live up to it ever day. i’ also reseaching it more for a english III research paper.

  7. Laheede Dudley says:

    this poem has made me more confident about myself and i really feel where you are coming from. i have love your style and class. the poem is the BOOM!!!!!

  8. Kailah says:

    I really like this poem because it made me look at myself in a whole different perspective, I feel pretty now.

  9. Lee Berry says:

    Ms. Angelou Phenomenal Woman is the poem for all women. I am not a model type and for a long time had low self esteem. I no longer think I am not worthy and reading this poem helps to reaffirm my new found self worth so thank you for putting into words what we as women truly are PHENOMENAL WOMEN THAT’S US.

  10. Amanda Smith says:

    I love this poem because it explains me so well. it makes me great about myself i am a phenomenal woman yes thats me

  11. alysha says:

    i love this poem coz it hows that you can be proud of yourself even if you dont have the perfect body image.

  12. Brittainy White says:

    i love acting this poem out and it feels so good for a girl to say that about herself cause we need it.
    to all my laidies out there be strong!

  13. Jasmine mitchell says:

    you have inspired me as a young child to be a poem writer. I hope someday we can meet and talk about certain ideas

  14. Jacara says:

    Dear,Maya Angleo love this poem it really speak from the heart every time i read this poem it inspired me to write poerty because of you that is what I’am going to do.

  15. Chelsea Reed says:

    I have to do a report on Maya Angelo. I had a choice of her or Lena Horne. I picked Mrs. Angleo because I like to read poems. I took intrest in it because I like to know what people think sometimes. The first time I heard this poem, I was watching Poetic Justice. Im pretty sure that there are alot of people that know your poem. I would say that it’s the most famous peom that you have. I didn’t quite understand it but now that Im older, I get what you are trying to get out there. Be proud of yourself. All women of differnt ages are phenomenal in there own way and no matter how you look carry yourself proudly. You don’t have to be a super model.

  16. eunice says:

    this poem is sooooo great. maya really shows you don’t have to be pretty or skinny. just b u and people will like you for who u r. and i just love the sass in her poems and her repititions for emphasis.

  17. DESTINY PETE says:


  18. tashari bargainer says:

    i am deeply in love with this poem i rehearsed this poem for my 6th grade graduation evryone was astound. im just 14 and i can relate to this poem deeply.

  19. Sharnell Johnson says:

    I love this poem so much because it reminds me of ME and always will love this poem too……………ALWAYS

  20. Ashley says:

    Maya, i love this poem so much…it really describes a lot about me and i can really relate…thanks a lot for just writing it. You probably have no idea how many people it have touched over the years!

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