top of page
To Love an Island

Cover Art: Colectivo Morivivi, Interior Art: Bemba PR

Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer

Poetry  l Trade Paperback l 126 pages

ISBN: 978-1-936919-87-1 | December 2021


About To Love an Island

Ana Portnoy Brimmer’s debut, To Love An Island, offers the stark recognition that disaster is political and colonialism the most violent of storms. Beginning with the aftermath of Hurricane María and spanning the summer insurrection of 2019 and subsequent earthquakes in Puerto Rico, To Love An Island is an exploration of collective trauma, an outpour of amassed grief, a desire for unleashed mourning, a fuck-you to resilience, a brandishing of resistance. Of brazen decolonial conviction—it summons tempests, departures, strawberries, cacerolas, mangroves, guillotines, all the complexities of loving a place under imperial duress.


About Ana Portnoy Brimmer

ANA PORTNOY BRIMMER is a poet and organizer from Puerto Rico. Her debut full-length collection, To Love an Island (2021, YesYes Books with Spanish edition forthcoming from La Impresora) was originally the winner of the YesYes Books 2019 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest. Portnoy holds a BA and an MA from the University of Puerto Rico and is an alumna of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark. She is the winner of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest 2020. She is the daughter of Mexican-Jewish immigrants, resides in Puerto Rico, and lives for dance parties and revolution.

To Love an Island

SKU: 2101002
  • Included in P & W's 17th Annual Debut Feature!

    "In To Love an Island, Ana Portnoy Brimmer marries poems of protest and love for Puerto Rico."


    Check out the full article that includes a discussion of writing inspiration and process as well Portnoy Brimmer reading one of the poems from To Love an Island, here.


    Shortlist, Eric Hoffer Grand Prize

    Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Award in Poetry

  • In Praise of To Love an Island

    If you were unsure about the poet's role in the world, look no further than Ana Portnoy Brimmer's To Love an Island. This book reads like a lyrical diatribe of resistance, passion, oceans, metaphor, and the power of hurricanes; it is stunningly insightful on how to practice solidarity, create revolution, embrace love, and exercise our humanity. Portnoy Brimmer is the archipelago's quintessential warrior poet: decolonized, fearless, speaking truth to oppression, and making room for the heart to come out of its shadow and sing.

    —Willie Perdomo, State Poet of New York and author of The Crazy Bunch


    Ana Portnoy Brimmer’s poetry reckons with and does the careful work of what Anjelamaría Dávila called holding our “solitudes in shared company.” To Love an Island moves through the collective trauma that follows devastation, the intimacy of shared grief in the face of settler colonialism and displacement, and finally ends in a burst of protest. Portnoy’s voice is rich, meticulous, and backed by care networks. It translates the immediacy of loss into the urgent need for change, and in doing so opens a window to a different future for Puerto Rico.

    —Raquel Salas Rivera, author of lo terciario/ the tertiary and antes que isla es volcán/ before island is volcano


    Bodies harpoon themselves into the waves, an insatiable island lies on a blotch of sea, and a shock of bougainvillea blossoms from a woman’s ribs. Ana Portnoy Brimmer’s To Love an Island is a vibrant debut full of melancholy and magic, rage and wonder, and a quaking irrepressible fire. Throughout it all, Portnoy Brimmer documents the interior realities of the Puerto Rican experience through the tragedies of disaster and colonialism but always with the abiding knowledge that someday it all goes back to water.

    —Richard Georges, author of Epiphaneia and inaugural Virgin Islands Poet Laureate


    Here, then, is inflorescence. Not merely in the act of a poet’s debut collection blooming into being, but in the variegated creep, growth and flourish of a radically committed body of work. Wound into the vines and roots of Ana Portnoy Brimmer’s To Love an Island is this remarkable witness: a lyrical fidelity to the rhythms and languages of Puerto Rico that holds itself open, too, to the sea blast of violent natural predation, the calamity of the hurricane, the garrote of selective exotification at the bloodied hands of the United States of America. Press your ear to these poems. Hear their history, see what the poet conjures from the battlements of gasoline, matches, guttering light bulbs, machetes, murders, and the wings of hummingbirds. O Caribbean, your new poems are here, and they have so much to say. Escucha bien.

    Shivanee N. Ramlochan, author of Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting

YesYes Books
bottom of page