Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the January/February 2024 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

With so many great 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 Root Fractures by Diana Khoi Nguyen and The Last Fire Season: A Personal and Pyronatural History by Manjula Martin. 

“Alferez Antonio Sonoro was born with gold in his eyes.” The Bullet Swallower (Simon & Schuster, January 2024) by Elizabeth Gonzalez James. Third book, second novel. Agent: Peter Steinberg. Editor: Tim O’Connell. Publicist: Brianna Scharfenberg.  

“Giờ đây, gia đình tôi là người Mỹ [Now, my family are Americans].” Root Fractures (Scribner, January 2024) by Diana Khoi Nguyen. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: Emma Paterson. Editor: Christopher Richards. Publicist: Mia O’Neill.  

“I’m from Indiana, which is a place notable for its lack of notability.” Dirtbag (St. Martin’s Press, December 2023) by Amber A’Lee Frost. First book, essay collection. Agent: William Callahan. Editor: Kevin Reilly. Publicist: Gabrielle Gantz.  

“Maybe it was that Cyrus had done the wrong drugs in the right order, or the right drugs in the wrong order, but when God finally spoke back to him after twenty-seven years of silence, what Cyrus wanted more than anything else was a do-over.” Martyr! (Knopf, January 2024) by Kaveh Akbar. Third book, first novel. Agent: Jacqueline Ko. Editor: Jordan Pavlin. Publicists: Amy Hagedorn and Josie Kals.  

“let your hands pull my ribs back today.” You Bury the Birds in My Pelvis (Omnidawn, December 2023) by Kelly Weber. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Rusty Morrison. Publicist: Justin Hargett.  

“He stood on the summit of the white mountain and gazed in our direction.” The Ukraine (Seven Stories Press, January 2024) by Artem Chapeye, translated from the Ukrainian by Zenia Tompkins. Second book, first story collection. Agent: Emma Shercliff. Editor: Dan Simon. Publicist: Ruth Weiner.  

“Agatha Paul stood in front of Belgrade Dormitory at six fifty-nine p.m.” Come and Get It (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, January 2024) by Kiley Reid. Second book, novel. Agent: Claudia Ballard. Editor: Sally Kim. Publicist: Katie McKee.  

“Just look around and listen to the talk.” Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes (Ecco, December 2023) by the late Anthony Veasna So. Second book. Agent: Rob McQuilkin. Editor: Helen Atsma. Publicist: Sonya Cheuse.  

“You can hear, as soon as I start to speak—effeminate inflection, nasal vowels, slight lisp—qualities of tone that may sound dissonant from my gender presentation: a queer voice.” I Sing to Use the Waiting: A Collection of Essays About the Women Singers Who’ve Made Me Who I Am (Two Dollar Radio, January 2024) by Zachary Pace. First book, essay collection. Agent: None. Editor: Eric Obenauf. Publicist: Eliza Jane Wood-Obenauf.  

“It never covered everything like a shroud.” Fog and Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, January 2024) by Katie Peterson. Sixth book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jonathan Galassi. Publicist: Joshua Porter.  

“The night of a dry lightning storm in Northern California I woke up terrified, and from my bedroom window I watched relentless spears of lightning shatter the sky, Zeus or Jupiter very upset, fire from darkness, splintering the land, and I knew immediately we couldn’t all survive this.” The Last Fire Season: A Personal and Pyronatural History (Pantheon Books, January 2024) by Manjula Martin. First book, memoir. Agent: Susan Golomb. Editor: Denise Oswald. Publicist: Rose Cronin-Jackman.  

“The old rope swing still sways like a noose” Irregular Heartbeats at the Park West (Wayne State University Press, January 2024) by Russell Brakefield. Third book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editors: Michael Delp and M. L. Liebler. Publicist: Kelsey Giffin.