This Valentine’s Day, Skyline College Library and Language Arts faculty hosted a first ever Poetry Corner virtual session honoring the life and works of bell hooks, with a particular focus on her ethic of love.
To put hooks’ life and works in context, the discussion began with a screening of a short YouTube episode, “The Real Influencers,” by Fatimah Jackson about how hooks highlighted the plight of Black women in America (available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCkphkt21sc)
Participants were then invited to consider the virtual session as a safe space, “a brave space,” to express their feelings, ideas, and any works about love they wished to share.
Beginning with Prof. Lucia Lachmayr, hook’s wisdom drew praise: “Love in our society has become so commodified…It doesn’t become about celebrating the uniqueness and awesomeness of everyone around us… hooks deconstructed the concept of love in a way nobody has done before.” Prof. Rob Williams shared his thoughts as well, highlighting hooks’ tenet that there can be no love without justice. Prof. Luciana Castro read a prize-winning poem composed by her mother Abigail Castro titled “Petals of velvet” on the nature of love and contentment.
Another short video about hooks was shown, followed by courageous readings by Skyline College creative writing students sharing their own writings on love and relationships. Participants included Allison Chang, Katherine Panaligan, Kevin Santiago, Arrysa Muhammed, Stephanie Borja, Tara Grover, and Liz Jordan.
Others followed: Faculty librarian and session organizer Pia Walawalkar read from hook’s concept of “Love as the Practice of Freedom.” Prof. Maryam Khan read excerpt from hooks’ book All about Love and Khan’s favorite Rupi Kaur poems about self-love and community love. Puente faculty counselor Alex Urbina relayed her experiences of sisterhood attending WMLA meetings, also sharing a hook’s quotation about the necessity of sisterhood for building a sustained feminist movement. Instructional Aide II Sherri Wyatt shared a well-known verse from First Corinthians 13:4-8 reminding us “Love is patient and kind…love endures all things.” Lastly, BSU President Kassidy Corbin thanked everyone for participating and invited the group to the students’ Friday meetings.
If you were unable to attend the February 14 session, a recording is available on the Library’s bell hooks research guide here: https://guides.skylinecollege.edu/bellhooks The Library invites you to use this guide as a starting place for engaging with hook’s inspirational ideas and teachings.
Thanks especially to the Learning Center’s Marisa Thigpen and other organizers and participants for making this first-ever event a success!
Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp