Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
Book Title


Author 1
Kristen Tracy
Poem Excerpt
One day, I hated my own girl heart;
it was a stone inside of me. The next day,
            this was not so and never would be again. 
I had no say. I began life,
heaven or not, ten steps away
from a brick church as a half-blonde anyone.
            What I am, my soft shoreline, my need
to unlock doors and move
from one train seat to the next,
has saved me.
           —from “Bountiful, Utah, 1972”
Half-Hazard is a book of near misses, would-be tragedies, and luck. As Kristen Tracy writes in the title poem, “Dangers here. Perils there. It’ll go how it goes.” The collection follows Tracy’s wide curiosity, from her growing up in a small Mormon farming community to her exodus out into the forbidden world, where she finds snakes, car accidents, adulterers, meteors, and death-marked mice. These wry, observant narratives are accompanied by a ringing lyricism and Tracy’s own knack for noticing what’s so funny about trouble and her natural impulse to want to put all the broken things back together. Full of wrong turns, false loves, quashed beliefs, and a menagerie of animals, Half-Hazard introduces a vibrant new voice in American poetry, one of resilience, faith, and joy.

Share Title

List Price
Publication Date
Publication Date
Trim Size
Trim Size
6 x 9
Winner of the Emily Dickinson First Book Award from the Poetry Foundation

About the Author

Kristen  Tracy
Credit: Andrea Scher
Kristen Tracy is a poet and acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels for young readers. Her poems have been published in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and the Threepenny Review, among other magazines. She lives in Los Angeles.
More by author


  • “When you open this book, the energy pops off the page. It’s a free-wheeling, lack of fear of language. . . . Whatever makes for the holy fire, I love it. Tracy is so real you can almost touch her with her observations, mishaps, wry information. There’s sadness here, too. Who can avoid this? But something wonderful holds everything up like a gleaming net under an acrobat’s high-wire act.”Washington Independent Review of Books
  • “Tracy, a prolific author of tween and teen fiction, debuts in verse with an irresistible collection selected for the Poetry Foundation’s Emily Dickinson First Book Award. These energetic poems showcase a writer who knows how to draw readers in—with short sentences, quick turns, and a comic edge that courts disaster.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “Nearly 20 years in the making, this debut collection from a prolific children's author won the Poetry Foundation's Emily Dickinson First Book Award . . . evidently, it was worth the wait. Written in an open, conversational voice. . . . Empathetic accessible reading.”Library Journal
  • “Kristen Tracy’s collection Half-Hazard . . . was twenty years in the making. And so, it should come as no surprise that time plays a pivotal role in this outstanding collection. Time is the medium across which cruelty unfolds towards the plants, animals, and people that we share the world with—and it is the medium through which we bear witness.”The Arkansas International
Back to Table of Contents