In the opening of her latest autobiography, “Mom & Me & Mom,” Maya Angelou writes that she is frequently asked how she became who she is today — a poet, playwright, director, historian, and civil rights activist, among other things. But the real question is how she survived at all.
Angelou has been writing about her own life for decades, and readers of her earlier volumes will be familiar with the violence and brutality she suffered in her youth. “Mom & Me & Mom” broadly revisits some of the painful incidents of her childhood, but as the title indicates, the focus is on Angelou and her mother, Vivian Baxter, an extraordinary woman whom Maya and her older brother, Bailey, barely knew for the first decade of their lives. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Carmela Ciuraru, editor of several anthologies and author of “Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms,” can be reached at email@example.com.