“While I was writing the book, I stayed half drunk in the afternoon and cried all night,” Maya Angelou told The Washington Post in 1970 about writing her harrowing memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

From The Post’s archives, here is the original 1970 review of Angelou’s book, as well as an interview with her.

The glowing review by Ward Just reads, “There isn’t any easy, which is to say false line in the book. The distance, which is everything, is as true as a plumb line. She is outside and inside at the same time, looking at all of it with double vision.”

The accompanying profile of Angelou includes her reflections of her childhood, her family and her experiences growing up in the South.

“I don’t regret living any of it. It’s like brush lines on a painting. I have a feeling that I have a rich heritage. But I don’t write as if I’ve done all I want to do. I still have a lot of things to do. I’m really very lucky because those difficulties I’ve had have knocked those blinders off my eyes and given me peripheral vision. I’m a romanticist, but I’m also a realist,” she said.