Reading List: Puerto Rican Heritage Month

As part of our calendar celebrating national heritage months and observances, explore these selected works that speak to Puerto Rican history and heritage.


Festivities for the Carnaval de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Photograph shows two figures in elaborate costumes with a Puerto Rican flag waving in the background


De Puerto Rico: Un año después de la tormenta | From Puerto Rico: One year after the storm (Issue 16) is a special portfolio of fiction, essays, poetry, and images marking one year after Hurricane Maria and highlighting the rich diversity of Puerto Rican literature and art on the island and in diaspora. 

The portfolio begins with an excerpt from Ana María Fuster Lavín’s essay “de Las Pisadas Del Insomnio / from The Footsteps of Insomnia,” offering a short but striking depiction of daily life after the hurricane, with the original Spanish accompanying Jennifer Acker’s English translation. Other pieces presented bilingually include poems by Mara Pastor (translated by María José Giménez): “After the Storm,” “False Ice Cream Shop,” and “Native Shore,” alongside an essay on Pastor’s work by by Carina Del Valle Schorske (Spanish translation by Nicole Cecilia Delgado); Ricardo Alberto Maldonado’s poem “Bounty” blends English and Spanish, and students can listen to a recording of Maldonado reading the poem. Ana Teresa Toro’s essay “To Abandon Paradise” describes the storm’s destruction and explores how colonialism and the initial and ongoing effects of Maria are intertwined, themes picked up elsewhere in the portfolio, including in María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado’s moving poem “4,645+.” In “The Puerto Rican Day Parade, Celebrating Heritage in Mourning,” Carmen Graciela Díaz reflects on how a cultural celebration in New York became a necessary platform for discourse and protest, and a means of keeping the plight of Puerto Ricans in the public eye (translated by María José Giménez). 

See also: “Rule-Breaking is a Conscious Decision: an Interview with Willie Perdomo,” as well as Perdomo’s poems from the portfolio and its online supplement: “They Won’t Find Us in Books,” “We Used to Call it Puerto Rico Rain,” and “Breaking Night.”

Explore the complete portfolio.


Classroom resources:

Selected complementary readings to enhance student engagement.


Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Aaron Fellmeth Photography.

Reading List: Puerto Rican Heritage Month