Know The Mother


While a mother can be defined as a creator, a nurturer, a protector—at the center of each mother is an individual who is attempting to manage her own fears, desires, and responsibilities in different and sometimes unexpected ways. In Know the Mother, author Desiree Cooper explores the complex archetype of the mother in all of her incarnations. In a collage of meditative stories, women—both black and white—find themselves wedged between their own yearnings and their roles as daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and wives.

Like carefully crafted prose poems or the succinct stories of Raymond Carver, Cooper's snapshots capture the currents beneath the calm...Each exquisite miniature in Know the Mother provides a mural's worth of life. — Shelf Awareness

Cooper’s book illuminates—through 30 vignettes that cross race, class, gender and sexuality—The Rumpus

A high point of 2016. — The Root

Every once in a while you read a book and it blows you away. 
Know the Mother was that for me. — Marianne Williamson, New York Times bestselling author of A Woman's Worth


"The stories in Know the Mother are like jewels—glittering, finely wrought and worthy of careful appraisal. Here is fiction that not only examines the everyday messiness of living, but the painful miracle of birth and the beautiful mystery of death with equal insight. Cooper's elegant, wise, and energetic collection is about what it means to be a woman, a mother, a sister, a wife, a child, and most of all, human." 

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House



Praise for Know the Mother, a 2017 Michigan Notable Book


Black Market Reads, Givens Foundation, February 2018—Episode 31, Desiree Cooper

Washington Independent Review of Books, July 20, 2017—“Between Obligation and Desire: An Interview with Des Cooper”

SmokeLong Quarterly, Summer 2017—“Be More Inclusive in Your Life:” An Interview with Desiree Cooper, by Megan Giddings

Poets & Writers, November/December 2016—“5 Over 50 Reads: Desiree Cooper”

Stateside, Michigan Radio, WUOM, October 6, 2016—“Michigan author’s flash fiction book Know the Mother tackles gender, race in bite-sized format” by Josh Hakala

First Person Plural, September 13, 2016—“FPP Interview: Desiree Cooper”

Hypertext Review, July 15, 2016—“Hypertext Interview with Desiree Cooper,” By Christine Rice

Entropy, May 10, 2016—“Notes on Motherhood: Conversation with Desiree Cooper and Crystal Wilkinson”

Raising Mothers, 2016, “Know the Mother: An Interview with Desiree Cooper”

The Sunday Show, KPFA Radio, May 8, 2016—Mother’s Day Show

Motown Writer’s Network, May 4, 2016, “Guest Desiree Cooper, Author of Know the Mother”

Between the Lines, WMUK radio, March 4, 2016—Interview with Desiree Cooper, by Zinta Aistars

Mater Mea, April 13, 2016—Know the Mother Tells the Motherhood Stories You Don’t Hear,” by Anthonia Akitunde

Midlife Boulevard, April 1, 2016—“Review and Interview: Know the Mother by Desiree Cooper,” by Andrea Bates

The Rumpus, March 25, 2016—“Visible/Women Writers Of Color: Desiree Cooper,” by Deesha Philyaw


THE UNEXPECTED DO-OVER: Desiree Cooper on How She Learned to Love Babies via mutha magazine

Know the Mother via books by women


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