Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

What happens is I write a first sentence, then I read the sentence that I’ve just written, and then I immediately erase that sentence; then I begin anew by writing another first sentence for a completely different story; then another first sentence for another story, so on and so forth.” Unkempt (Harcourt, August 2004) by Courtney Eldridge. First book, short story collection. Agent: Nat Sobel. Editor: André Bernard.

“Who shall say what one’s Vision has to offer another?” Invisible Bride (Louisiana State University Press, April 2004) by Tony Tost. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: MaryKatherine Callaway.

“The phosphorous cheeks of an ailing jester fallen that day / from an alien haze over jade lanes / to blades arrayed in ribboned mazes / created to flay a dilated spirit hole” Music and Suicide (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, April 2004) by Jeff Clark. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jonathan Galassi.

“Beauty, at least when it is referred to by that name—suffers the same treatment by too many contemporary poets (and students of poetry) as does authority in poetry.” Coin of the Realm (Graywolf Press, June 2004) by Carl Phillips. Ninth book, first essay collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jeffrey Shotts.

“My mother is sick at home, and I am downtown, full of beer, kissing a long-haired man in the pizza place next door to Ruby’s Room.” A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That (Simon & Schuster, June 2004) by Lisa Glatt. Third book, first novel. Agent: Andrew Blauner. Editor: Marysue Rucci.

“My grandmother gave birth often, which I suppose increased her odds for tragedy.” Within Arm’s Reach (Shaye Areheart Books, July 2004) by Ann Napolitano. First book, novel. Agent: Elaine Koster. Editor: Shaye Areheart.

“The Focus Group was then reconvened in another of Reesemeyer Shannon Belt Advertising’s nineteenth-floor conference rooms.” Oblivion (Little, Brown, June 2004) by David Foster Wallace. Seventh book, third short story collection. Agent: Bonnie Nadell. Editor: Michael Pietsch.

“Sixteen years old.” The Pornographer’s Poem (Soft Skull Press, June 2004) by Michael Turner. Fifth book, third novel. Agent: Hillary McMann. Editor: Richard Nash.

“I was once picked up by the police on Fatty Arbuckle’s front lawn.” I, Fatty (Bloomsbury, July 2004) by Jerry Stahl. Fourth book, third novel. Agent: Chris Calhoun. Editor: Karen Rinaldi.

“Summer and the third day of Martin’s field study.” Field Study (Pantheon, July 2004) by Rachel Seiffert. Second book, first short story collection. Agent: Toby Eady. Editor: Dan Frank.

“After eating the large bowl / of potatoes and olives, / the young girl took / an inordinately long nap / under a wool blanket.” Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross (Penguin, June 2004) by Mark Yakich. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Paul Slovak.