For our March HerStory, we are showcasing the truly incomparable bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins). She adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as her pen name because her great-grandmother “was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which I greatly admired.” She wanted the focus of her work to be on the “substance of books, not who I am,” so chose not to capitalize her pen name.
bell hooks’ influence reaches into many different arenas, and she shared herself in many different ways: hooks was a professor, a featured speaker, a cultural critic, a filmmaker. The thread that weaves her works together is her intersectionality, and the central theme of all of her work is love:
“I believe wholeheartedly that the only way out of domination is love,” she told the philosopher George Yancy in an interview for The New York Times in 2015, “and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love.”
No matter what part of her works you find yourself experiencing, you’ll see that love and intersectionality in practice: she wove themes of love, race, class, gender, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism together into a truly inspiring whole. Whether reflecting on the influence geography has on self; exploring feelings on the American education system and its reliance on white supremacy and capitalism; and/or taking a deep-dive into what love truly means, hooks’ work frequently addressed these deep intersections that form the fabric of society.
The breadth of her teaching, the range of her interests, and the approachability of her work make us fall more in love with her with every experience. Whatever your interest, from children’s books to poetry to tracts on love, feminism, education, and pretty much everything in between, you’re sure to fall in love with bell hooks, too.
Our L-O-V-E colorway is an homage to bell hooks’ beloved Appalachia. We hope this earthy skein accompanies you as you explore hook’s work.
Books by bell hooks:
- The Love Trilogy: All About Love, Communion, & Salvation
- Ain’t I A Woman?
- Feminism is for Everybody
- Teaching to Transgress
- The Will to Change
- Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place
Want more like this? Here are some other authors we suggest you read/listen to:
- Audre Lorde
- Angela Y. Davis
- Alice Walker
- Toni Morrison
- Roxane Gay
We hope you enjoy this HerStory Book Club as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. We envision an open-ended Book Club, with folks reading or listening to whichever book they’d like from each author’s If you’d like a spoiler of all of the authors we’ll be showcasing this year, check out our website: http://knittedwit.com/herstory-2022-authors/