There are many literary devices in Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise." First, she uses many similes to compare two unrelated things using "like" or "as." For example, in the first stanza, she says she'll rise just like the dust. She also compares herself to suns and moons, and the "certainty of tides" in the third stanza. She uses similes to compare how she will rise just as surely as the sun and moon rise. In the fourth stanza, she compares her shoulders to teardrops, saying:
"Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?"
Another literary device Angelou uses is repetition. She repeats the phrase "I rise" many times throughout the poem. This is a literary device poets often use to emphasize a concept or idea.
Angelou also employs the use of metaphor
in her poem. "I am a black ocean, leaping and wide. Welling and swelling, I bear in the tide."
In the sixth stanza, Angelou uses hyperbole
as well as metaphor. It can be argued that the figurative language used in this stanza is metaphorical because she is comparing words to weapons with the capability to kill or wound. It is my opinion that it is hyperbole, as well, because this statement exaggerates the effect that words will have on her:
"You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise."