Postage stamp to honour Maya Angelou has another writer's words

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maya-angelou-stamp.jpg The poet Maya Angelou may well be one of America's greatest literary figures. But you'll find someone else's words on a postage stamp to be unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Postal Service that honors the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.

The stamp features the late Angelou's picture, her name and the quotation: "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." That was in fact penned by Joan Walsh Anglund, an 89-year-old children's book author, according to The Washington Post.

The quote appears on page 15 of Anglund's book of poems "A Cup of Sun," published in 1967, The Post reports.

"Yes, that's my quote," Anglund told The Post. But she doesn't seem to mind the mix-up. "I love [Maya Angelou] and all she's done," she said, "and I also love my own private thinking that also comes to the public, because it comes from what I've been thinking and how I've been feeling."

The quotation does recall the title of one of Angelou's most famous works, her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (1969), and it is widely associated with her.

Even President Barack Obama attributed the quotation to Angelou during the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal award ceremony. The poet herself received a National Medal of Arts in 2000.

After being informed that Anglund had confirmed that the quotation was hers, a Postal Service spokesman issued a statement saying that had it known beforehand, the service would instead have used another quote - from Maya Angelou herself. Still, as Mark Saunders, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, put it, "The sentence held great meaning for her, and she is publicly identified with its popularity."

Angelou, who was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, died on May 28, 2014.

 

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