Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the November/December 2020 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Dearly by Margaret Atwood and Memorial by Bryan Washington.

“These are the late poems.” Dearly (Ecco, November 2020) by Margaret Atwood. Fifty-third book, eighteenth poetry collection. Agent: Karolina Sutton. Editor: Daniel Halpern. Publicist: Caitlin Mulrooney-Lyski. 

“Deep in the mountains of Akishina where Granny and Grandpa live, fragments of night linger even at midday.” Earthlings (Grove Press, October 2020) by Sayaka Murata, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori. Seventeenth book, seventh novel. Agent: Kohei Hattori. Editor: Peter Blackstock. Publicist: John Mark Boling. 

“I belong to the nation of wild arms flailing in wind.” My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree (Graywolf Press, November 2020) by Yi Lei, translated from the Chinese by Changtai Bi and Tracy K. Smith. Ninth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jeff Shotts. Publicist: Caroline Nitz. 

“The North Star is irrelevant / miles and miles above my head / I don’t want constellations any nearer / I know there are whole cities all over this country / so bright you can’t see the stars / the sky no wider than the heart is wide...” Cardinal (Copper Canyon Press, October 2020) by Tyree Daye. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Michael Wiegers. Publicist: Laura Buccieri. 

“On September 14, 2011, we awoke once again to the image of two bodies hanging from a bridge.” Grieving: Dispatches From a Wounded Country (Feminist Press, October 2020) by Cristina Rivera Garza, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker. Nineteenth book, third nonfiction book. Agent: None. Editor: Lauren Rosemary Hook. Publicist: Jisu Kim. 

“Many years ago a young woman came to the American West in a covered wagon.” Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land (Harper, November 2020) by N. Scott Momaday. Thirteenth book, second memoir. Agent: None. Editor: Jennifer Civiletto. Publicist: Nicholas Davies. 

“‘One sec, I just noticed some sort of lump on my chest.’” Kimiko Does Cancer (Arsenal Pulp Press, October 2020) by Kimiko Tobimatsu, illustrated by Keet Geniza. First book, graphic memoir. Agent: None. Editors: Shirarose Wilensky and Tara-Michelle Ziniuk. Publicists: Jaiden Dembo and Cynara Geissler. 

“My pussy is not made of microfiber.” Negotiations (Tin House, October 2020) by Destiny O. Birdsong. First book, poetry collection. Agent: Kiele Raymond. Editor: Elizabeth DeMeo. Publicist: Molly Templeton. 

“Today is the longest day.” Particulate Matter (Akashic Books, November 2020) by Felicia Luna Lemus. Third book, first creative nonfiction book. Agent: None. Editor: Johanna Ingalls. Publicist: Susannah Lawrence. 

“...I know, I understand, I shouldn’t have done it.” At Night All Blood Is Black
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November 2020) by David Diop, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis. Second book, novel. Agent: Magalie Delobelle. Editor: Jeremy Davies. Publicist: Jonathan Woollen. 

“Mike’s taking off for Osaka, but his mother’s flying into Houston.” Memorial (Riverhead Books, October 2020) by Bryan Washington. Second book, first novel. Agent: Danielle Bukowski. Editor: Laura Perciasepe. Publicist: Ashley Garland. 

“I will tell the tale of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi / And their daughters, the Perfect Nine, / Matriarchs of the House of Mũmbi, / Founders of their nine clans, / Progenitors of a nation.” The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi (New Press, October 2020) by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Twenty-ninth book, first novel in verse. Agent: Julia Masnik. Editor: Ben Woodward. Publicist: Derek Warker.