poetry in your pocket

January 13, 2022

The U.S. Mint began this week circulating quarters with the image of poet Maya Angelou. This is the first issue in the four-year American Women Quarters™ Program, with up to five coins to be issued each year, celebrating “the accomplishments and contributions made by women to the development and history of our country.”

The image on the Angelou (reverse) side of the coin was designed by freelance illustrator Emily Damstra and sculpted by U.S. Mint Medallic Artist Craig Campbell.

The coin’s obverse features a right-facing profile of George Washington, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser. In 1931, Congress held a competition for a coin to honor the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Though not chosen, Gardin Fraser’s popular submission was revived for the 1999 George Washington Commemorative Gold Five-Dollar coin and finally goes into wide circulation on the obverse of the American Women Quarters.

stamping poetry

August 4, 2015

Maya Angelou stamp

It has been a while since the U.S. Postal Service featured a poet on a new stamp (see our post from April 23, 2012), so if you like your outgoing mail to reflect your interests, pick up some Maya Angelou Forever stamps (@ 49¢). The stamp was issued on April 07, 2015, during National Poetry Month, and is available at your local post office and online. Each stamp bears the following quote*: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

(*Thanks to Sheila Sondik for pointing out this Time article, which explains that the quote on the stamp was not, in fact, by Dr. Angelou, though often mis-credited, but was written by Joan Walsh Anglund in 1967.)

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