Throughout the poem, Angelou uses all kinds of figurative devices: simile and metaphor, hyperbole, and plenty of figures of sound (rhyme, alliteration, and repetition). Let's take a close look at each.
This is a comparison using "like," "as," "as if," "as though," "resembles," etc., and Angelou uses a lot of them throughout the poem.
A favorite of readers seems to be this gem:
"That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?"
What a gutsy simile!
Like a simile but without a word such as "like," this is a comparison that directly states that one thing is another. The speaker of the poem says, for instance:
"I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide"
The metaphor emphasizes the speaker's incredible depth and power.
This is an exaggeration for effect: presenting something as much more intense than it really is. This stanza has three hyperbolic statements:
"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."
Read this poem aloud; you'll be glad you did. You can hear the powerful, clear-as-a-bell rhyme scheme with single-syllable words. "Lies," "rise." "Gloom," "room." And so on until the end: "Fear," "clear." "Gave," "slave." These rhymes lend music and (even more) personality to the speaker and her message of confidence and self-love.
Alliteration, both consonance and assonance:
Alliteration in general is the repetition of sounds close together. Consonance, like it sounds, is a repetition of consonants, while assonance is a repetition of vowel sounds. (Both are instances of alliteration.)
Check out some consonance here:
"Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?"
And some assonance:
"Does my sexiness upset you?"
This is generally a method for driving home the point, building up the point to a climax, or simply making the point catchy and familiar enough to keep it in readers' minds.
In this poem, Angelou writes "I rise" ten times, plus it's in the title!