A Woman’s Mourning Song

A Woman’s Mourning Song

As she puts it in her own words, bell hooks describes the concept of her poetry book, A Woman’s Mourning Song, as a fight to hold onto a loved one’s memory despite the fact that death is final and an inevitable fact of loss. It’s a written refusal to let death erase memories, even though time tatters away and makes the edges and details of moments fuzzy as they move into the distance. hooks is no stranger to the realities of life; she’s written more than 20 books, a prolific energy focused into pen and paper about her views on life, love, liberty and her own definition of a woman’s happiness.

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bell hooks is well known for her ability to draw from multiple traditions and cultural backgrounds, whether it be in story description or poetry, and give to the reader a first hand view in how the African American sees the world around her. In A Woman’s Mourning Song the acclaimed author and feminist scholar takes on death from the perspective of the woman left behind in life, trying to hold onto life regardless of death’s finality, and doing so with a rabid grip on memories and their related emotions in the mind.

Whether it was friends, acquaintances or loved ones, death is a theme in bell hook’s life and those around her, often in those younger than they should be before their time is cut short. Her book personalizes the reaction to loss and provides the reader a real-time poetic movement through grief in an African-American woman’s mind. A Woman’s Mourning Song has nothing to do with giving up, however. Her message is clearly about holding on regardless of death’s finality.


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