bell hooks (a.k.a Gloria Jean Watkins) was born on September 25, 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. She took her name in honor of her grandmother Bell Blair Hooks.
hooks received a BA from Stanford University in California, MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and PhD from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
A cultural critic, feminist theorist, and scholar on race and gender, hooks authored more than thirty books, including the poetry collections Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place (University Press of Kentucky, 2012); When Angels Speak of Love (Atria Books, 2011); and And There We Wept (Golemics, 1978).
About hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia University, said, “She was utterly courageous in terms of putting on paper thoughts that many of us might have had in private.”
“Poetry sustains life,” hooks wrote. “Of this I am certain. There is no doubt in my mind that the pain of poverty, whether material or emotional lack, can be eased by the power of language. I know this intimately. For in that misunderstood childhood of mine, I found that sanctuary of poetry. It restored me, allowed me to come back from the space of woundedness and sadness to a recognition of beauty.”
hooks taught at Berea College in Kentucky, which is home to the bell hooks Institute. She died in Berea, Kentucky on December 15, 2021.