Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the September/October 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 Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr and Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead, for a glimpse into the worlds of these new and noteworthy titles.

“Like many of the ghost stories I’ve grown up with, this one needs to start with a death.” Seeing Ghosts (Grand Central Publishing, August 2021) by Kat Chow. First book, memoir. Agent: Jin Auh. Editor: Maddie Caldwell. Publicists: Matthew Ballast and Ivy Cheng.   

“There is no evidence that we have a special sense. Of time.” The Nick of Time (New Directions, September 2021) by Rosmarie Waldrop. Twenty-sixth book, twenty-first poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jeffrey Yang. Publicist: Brittany Dennison. 

“or was it afterlife / gravity in the green of / scrawls against their droughts” Maroon Choreography (Duke University Press, August 2021) by fahima ife. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Ken Wissoker. Publicist: Laura Sell. 

“This is what comes to mind when I consider the silence: how I saved my words for the stairwell in Streatham Hill, London, right outside the flat where I lived at the time; how I would sit there many nights, a little shell-shocked, and mumbling to myself.” Things I Have Withheld (Grove Press, September 2021) by Kei Miller. Eleventh book, second essay collection. Agent: Alice Whitwham. Editor: Elisabeth Schmitz. Publicist: Kait Astrella. 

“A fourteen-year-old girl sits cross-legged on the floor of a circular vault.” Cloud Cuckoo Land (Scribner, September 2021) by Anthony Doerr. Sixth book, third novel. Agent: Amanda Urban. Editor: Nan Graham. Publicist: Kate Lloyd. 

Boys don’t read. / —the experts // These kids run / their sloppy fly routes // right to left / in a crabgrass park” The Last Thing: New & Selected Poems (Persea Books, September 2021) by Patrick Rosal. Fifth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Gabriel Fried. Publicist: Jonah Fried. 

“The first hints are the half-erased words on the overhead projector.” Blind Man’s Bluff (Norton, August 2021) by James Tate Hill. Second book, first memoir. Agent: Eric Smith. Editor: Amy Cherry. Publicist: Gabrielle Nugent. 

“She rides out of the forest alone.” Matrix (Riverhead Books, September 2021) by Lauren Groff. Sixth book, fifth novel. Agent: Bill Clegg. Editor: Sarah McGrath. Publicist: Claire McGinnis. 

“His cousin Freddie brought him on the heist one hot night in early June.” Harlem Shuffle (Doubleday, September 2021) by Colson Whitehead. Tenth book, eighth novel. Agent: Nicole Aragi. Editor: Bill Thomas. Publicist: Michael Goldsmith. 

“400,000 children killed to free the world, / the waters of the rivers were filled with blood, / the waters of the rivers of Europe with the blood of America / flowing through the Danube and the Seine, / dead fish and an unbreathable stench on the banks of the Rhine, / on the bridges of the Thames.” America (Copper Canyon Press, September 2021) by Fernando Valverde, translated from the Spanish by Carolyn Forché. Sixth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Michael Wiegers. Publicist: Laura Buccieri. 

“I am trying to get Aaron to sleep.” Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage (Flatiron Books, August 2021) by Eleanor Henderson. Third book, first memoir. Agent: Jim Rutman. Editor: Megan Lynch. Publicist: Chris Smith. 

“My life outside my mother’s womb has just begun.” Radiant Fugitives (Counterpoint, August 2021) by Nawaaz Ahmed. First book, novel. Agent: Anjali Singh. Editor: Dan Smetanka. Publicist: Megan Fishmann. 

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