There was a huge pop star, a tennis phenomenon, a top fashion designer, a key U.S. diplomat and three Beatle wives.

But the biggest ovation at Monday’s GLAMOUR WOMEN OF THE YEAR AWARDS awards, a star studded affair at New York’s CARNEGIE HALL, went to poet Maya Angelou, whose soaring words on the glorious power of femininity brought many to tears and nearly everyone to their feet.

Women, Ms. Angelou told the crowd in her speech, “are rainbows in the clouds.”

“I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.”

As for the men: “You have to write your own poem,” Ms. Angelou said to laughter, including the man who presented her award, former President Bill Clinton.

GLAMOUR’S annual WOMEN OF THE YEAR AWARDS always honour an eclectic group of women and this year was no exception.

Comic actor AMY POEHLER received her award from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE producer LORNE MICHAELS, who spoke admiringly of how Poehler performed her famous Sarah Palin rap skit.

AMY’S advice to the young women and girls in the crowd, which included a vociferous contingent of Girl Scouts: “Girls, if boys say something that’s not funny, you don’t have to laugh.”

Also honoured was fashion designer STELLA McCARTNEY, daughter of BEATLE PAUL. Her dad wasn’t there, but STELLA was shocked to see that three Beatle wives were presenting her award: BARBARA BACH, spouse of RINGO STARR and the widows of JOHN LENNON and GEORGE HARRISON respectively (YOKO ONO and OLIVIA HARRISON).

TYRA BANKS presented the award to tennis champion SERENA WILLIAMS, who also addressed the young women in the crowd: “You can do whatever you want to do. The most important belief is self belief.”

And actor Michael Douglas presented the award to Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who was also lauded via video by President Barack Obama. At a dinner later, Ms. Rice said she was inspired by many of the other honorees.

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