The Flowers in My Mothers' Name by Philip Harris

180511 The Flowers in My Mothers' Name Front Cover_Philip Harris with sticker front.jpg
180511 The Flowers in My Mothers' Name Front Cover_Philip Harris with sticker front.jpg

The Flowers in My Mothers' Name by Philip Harris



The Flowers in my Mothers' Name is a chapbook collection of nonfiction prose poetry that explores the intersectionality of narrator Philip Harris. A gay, Mexican man from Southern California, Harris finds himself at the center of cultures, sexuality, and generations. Through explorations of his mother’s life as a Chicana faced with racist microaggressions, his grandmother’s grief, and his own queer existence as a person of color with passing white privilege, Philip shares his multicultural narrative.

What People Are Saying

“In The Flowers in My Mothers’ Name, Philip Harris fearlessly explores his roots and tangled loyalties, what it means to feel love for one's Mexican mother and her struggles while trying to individuate his own gay identity he so early recognizes. It is an homage to truth and growth and the terribly rich framework of what is ours and how the world tries to shred its meaning. What he finds is what he needs. That is the power of the story of Philip / Felipe, the flowers of his empathy, his truth, and its hard-earned beauty of acceptance.”

– Maxine Chernoff, author of Here (2014) and Camera (2017)


“These beautiful prose poems tease out the mysteries and griefs of identity forged in the crucible of American childhood. In reclaiming his mothers' name, Philip Harris has written a new prayer book, its patron saints the Virgin and La Llorona, its pages a wreath of flowers to lay at their feet.”  

– Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You (2016), long-listed for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction


"We admire the flower in bloom fullness, delighting in the vibrant color of a wind-shivering petal or its resilience in blossoming after the viciousness of winter or the pruner's shears. What goes unnoticed often is the becoming. What can the flower teach us of that journey?  Harris offers us an intimate seeing in these poems of witness, drawing us as readers into personally expansive moments that resonate in canto y flor. Through the interweaving of familial stories in the structured block of the prose poem, primarily those of son, mother, and grandmother, we experience the thousand bee stings of microaggressions as much as we do tenderness and acceptance within the family. Ultimately, the revelations within his work resist white supremacy's hegemony and cultural erasure; rather, this collection insists on the deeply personal and human experience, the revealing of the flower in its time."

– Raina J. León, PhD, author of sombra : (dis)locate (2016) and Profeta Without Refuge (2016)


"The Flowers in My Mothers' Name is a brave and intimate book. There's comedy, as well as a great deal of pain, and above all: honesty. Harris, who wastes no words, has written a moving tribute to two strong women, as well as a gut-punch of a memoir. You want to know what it's like to grow up in America? Read this." 

– Peter Orner, author of Love and Shame and Love (2011)

"A melodic, poetic, memoir hybrid, Philip Harris’ The Flowers In My Mothers’ Name, is a stark and yet surprisingly intimate book about family and self. Harris’s flashes of familial history are beautifully reflected in his contained prose, each brief story a slight shifting of perception told in first or in third, is a quiet agonizing or celebration of the personal and political lives that reside in our everyday lives."

– MK Chavez, winner of the 2017 Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, author of Virgin Eyes (2008), Mothermorphosis (2016), and Dear Animal, (2016)


Publication Details

All of our books are printed locally in Oakland, CA. We strongly believe in supporting local publishers and local printers. 

September 2017 • 5 x 7 • 60 pp. • Trade Paper

ISBN: 978-0-9994471-0-9

Cover art by Arthur Johnstone

Interior and cover design by J. K. Fowler

Author Details

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