poetry 2018

I will love/even unwilling: bell hooks and Sappho on love as an action

I will love/even unwilling: bell hooks and Sappho on love as an action

by Louie Leyson

Sappho’s enshrinement in pop culture “as [a] love goddess,” according to bell hooks, has been essential in suppressing a long-held narrative of love constructed primarily by male poets (hooks, xxi). However, Sappho’s conceptions of love (at least in their fragmentary, translated forms) do not seem to fulfil hooks’ criteria for romantic love. While hooks views love as a verb, the subject[1] of Sappho’s poetry primarily experiences love as a noun—a flame, a hook, a snare.