Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the November/December 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 Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit and Such Color: New and Selected Poems by Tracy K. Smith, for a glimpse into the worlds of these new and noteworthy titles.

“By the time you read this, you may have figured it out.” My Monticello (Henry Holt, October 2021) by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson. First book, story collection. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff. Editor: Retha Powers. Publicists: Clarissa Long and SallyAnne McCartin.  

“I was thinking, while making love, this is beautiful—this / fine craftsmanship of his skin, the texture of wintry river.” Burying the Mountain (Copper Canyon Press, October 2021) by Shangyang Fang. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Michael Wiegers. Publicists: Laura Buccieri and Marisa Vito.  

“My mom almost got scammed this one time, not long ago.” Concepcion: An Immigrant Family’s Fortunes (Riverhead Books, October 2021) by Albert Samaha. Second book, first memoir. Agent: David Patterson. Editor: Rebecca Saletan. Publicist: Glory Anne Plata.  

“The first time Emi and Frida traveled to the US, it was to appear as paid participants on a Jerry Springer–style, Spanish-language talk show filmed in Miami.” The Boundaries of Their Dwelling (University of Iowa Press, October 2021) by Blake Sanz. First book, story collection. Agent: None. Editor: James McCoy. Publicists: Julia Borcherts and Allison T. Means.  

“Against its reputation as a pastime of drunks, against the notion that it is stupid, arm wrestling does most efficiently what sport is asked to do, which is translate the muddle of success and failure in life into the knowable: who wins and who doesn’t and why.” Indigo: Arm Wrestling, Snake Saving, and Some Things in Between (Catapult, November 2021) by Padgett Powell. Tenth book, first essay collection. Agent: Cynthia Cannell. Editor: Pat Strachan. Publicist: Alyson Sinclair.  

“Love, well, what to say? We talk about it a lot, but I don’t think I’ve used the word much, on the contrary, I doubt it’s ever been of any use to me, though I’ve loved, of course, I’ve loved, I’ve loved until I’ve lost my mind and my wits.” Trust (Europa Editions, November 2021) by Domenico Starnone, translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri. Twenty-second book, seventeenth novel. Agent: Valeria Zito. Editor: Michael Reynolds. Publicist: Sarah Russo.  

“Late afternoon slants, illuminates / the worn, white husk of hive and gleams / like an incubator bulb on the oval of an egg.” Requeening (Ecco, October 2021) by Amanda Moore. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Gabriella Doob. Publicist: Martin Wilson.  

“I didn’t know what it looked like to take care of someone.” Win Me Something (Tin House, November 2021) by Kyle Lucia Wu. First book, novel. Agent: Monika Woods. Editor: Masie Cochran. Publicist: Becky Kraemer. 

“Last night, it was bright afternoon / Where I wandered. Pale faces all around me.” Such Color: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, October 2021) by Tracy K. Smith. Sixth book, fifth poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jeff Shotts. Publicist: Caroline Nitz.  

“My son’s face is blue / with the soft light of Ice / Age falling on his round cheeks / the voices in the animation contained / by the cups of his child-sized earphones / muffled by the shush of the turbines / so constant, so similar to the soothing / sound of waves, we forget the aggression / of their volume” Mother/land (Black Lawrence Press, October 2021) by Ananda Lima. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Diane Goettel. Publicist: Julia Borcherts.  

“My name is Sarah Shipley and I’ve slept with five women. Since I married a man, no one asks the kind of persons I choose anymore.” The Perishing (Counterpoint, November 2021) by Natashia Deón. Second book, novel. Agent: Dara Hyde. Editor: Dan Smetanka. Publicist: Selihah White.  

“In the spring of 1936, a writer planted roses.” Orwell’s Roses (Viking, October 2021) by Rebecca Solnit. Twenty-third book, nonfiction. Agent: Frances Coady. Editor: Paul Slovak. Publicists: Maya Baran and Sara Leonard.