“The Flowers in My Mothers’ Name” by Philip Harris— The Intersectionality of the Poet

Harris, Philip. “The Flowers in My Mothers’ Name”, Nomadic Press, 2017.

The Intersectionality of the Poet

Amos Lassen

“The Flowers In My Mothers’ Name” is basically a chapbook collection of nonfiction prose poetry that explores the intersectionality of narrator Philip Harris. Harris is a gay, Mexican man from Southern California who finds himself at the center of cultures, sexuality, and generations. He explores his mother’s life as a Chicana dealing with racism, his grandmother’s grief, and his own queer existence as a person of color with passing white privilege and in doing so, he shares his multicultural narrative.

As he searches for his roots and he struggles with what it means to feel love for his Mexican mother and her struggles while at the same time trying to understand his own gay identity that he so easily recognizes. What he finds is what he needs. Harris draws us into personal moments and interweaves familial stories in his structured prose poetry and we feel what he feels.

There’s comedy, pain, and honesty. There are no wasted words in Harris’s tribute to his mother and grandmother and he delivers a memoir that hits hard and explains a lot about what it’s like to grow up in America. This is an intimate look at family and poet that celebrates “the personal and political lives that reside in our everyday lives.”

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