Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the May/June 2021 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 The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems by Arthur Sze and Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins, for a glimpse into the worlds of these new and noteworthy titles.

“I once told you, Jeffers, about the time I met the devil on a train leaving Paris, and about how after that meeting, the evil that usually lies undisturbed beneath the surface of things rose up and disgorged itself over every part of life.” Second Place (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 2021) by Rachel Cusk. Fifteenth book, eleventh novel. Agent: Sarah Chalfant. Editor: Mitzi Angel. Publicist: Lottchen Shivers. 

“A is for Adulteress // But you knew that.” Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason (Counterpoint Press, April 2021) by Gina Frangello. Fifth book, first memoir. Agent: Alice Tasman. Editor: Dan Smetanka. Publicists: Megan Fishmann and Lena Moses-Schmitt. 

“yes a famous mise-en-scène / ‘when I was just a little girl’” A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (Wave Books, April 2021) by Hoa Nguyen. Fourth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Joshua Beckman. Publicist: Catherine Bresner. 

“There’s a photograph of my father laughing on the last day I saw him alive.” Negative Space (Santa Fe Writers Project, May 2021) by Lilly Dancyger. First book, memoir. Agent: None. Editor: Kate Anderson. Publicist: Wendy Fox. 

“I gaze through a telescope at the Orion Nebula / a blue vapor with a cluster of white stars, / gaze at the globular cluster in Hercules, / needle and pinpoint lights stream into my eyes.” The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, April 2021) by Arthur Sze. Eleventh book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Michael Wiegers. Publicist: Laura Buccieri. 

“Something was bound to happen to Laila’s baby, and everyone from the pews of Abyssinian Baptist down to the northern shore of Central Park knew it.” Caul Baby (Harper, April 2021) by Morgan Jerkins. Third book, first novel. Agent: Monica Odom. Editor: Emily Griffin. Publicist: Hannah Bishop. 

“I arrived in La Paz as four rum and Cokes joined forces with an altitude-induced headache.” An Indian Among Los Indígenas: A Native Travel Memoir (Heyday, April 2021) by Ursula Pike. First book, memoir. Agent: None. Editors: Emmerich Anklam and Terria Smith. Publicists: Julie Coryell and Claire Morgan. 

“Because Jack didn’t drive—not stick, not on the left side of the road, not at all ever—Sadie piloted the rental car from the Dublin airport to the wedding, grinding gears and scraping along the greenery and—for a few miles—creeping behind a tractor on a winding road.” The Souvenir Museum (Ecco, April 2021) by Elizabeth McCracken. Seventh book, third story collection. Agent: Henry Dunow. Editor: Helen Atsma. Publicist: Sonya Cheuse. 

“I’m thinking of you beautiful / and young, of me young // and confused and maybe / beautiful.” Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey (BOA Editions, April 2021) by Craig Morgan Teicher. Sixth book, fourth poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Peter Conners. Publicist: Ron Martin Dent. 

“Concrete’s no job for sissies.” In Concrete (Deep Vellum, April 2021) by Anne Garréta, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan. Sixth book, novel. Agents: Christiaan van Raaijen and Heidi Warneke. Editor: Will Evans. Publicist: Sara Balabanlilar. 

“I was born into a house of air, / my dad born to bear, to share, his burden.” The Renunciations (Graywolf Press, May 2021) by Donika Kelly. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jeff Shotts. Publicist: Caroline Nitz. 

“The big white door closed after him.” The Man Who Lived Underground (Library of America, April 2021) by the late Richard Wright. Fifteenth book, seventh novel. Agent: Bill Reiss. Editor: John Kulka. Publicist: Leslie Schwartz.