Maya Angelou, otherwise known as Marguerite Johnson, was inspired by her sad life experiences to write poetry. As a young girl, she was raped after which her attacker was convicted and killed. A certain teacher and family friend known as Bertha Flowers introduced her to authors like Frances Harper, Anne Spenser, William Shakespeare, W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allen Poe. On the whole, these authors helped Maya in a way to find her voice again and write about her own life. Read on about her from www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/maya-angelou.