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Kristen Tracy
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.

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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.
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Upcoming Events

Kristen Tracy reading at Pages Bookshop

Pages Bookshop in Detroit, MIview map

Kristen Tracy reading at Literati Bookstore

Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MIview map

Kristen Tracy and Diane Seuss in conversation at Bookbug

Bookbug in Kalamazoo, MIview map

Kristen Tracy reading at the Poetry Foundation

Poetry Foundation in Chicago, ILview map
Reading with Bob Hicok.

Kristen Tracy reading at The King's English Bookshop

The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, UTview map
Reading and in conversation with Brian Evenson.

Kristen Tracy appearing at Rediscovered Books

Rediscovered Books in Boise, IDview map
This is a book signing.

Kristen Tracy reading at Barnes & Noble Grand Teton Mall

Barnes & Noble - Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls, IDview map


  • “[Kristen] Tracy’s prodigious talents craft a world that, once entered, you never wish to return from.”—Claudia Rankine
  • "Embrace this book, for Kristen Tracy’s curiosity and resilience, her appreciation for the collision as well as the near-miss, her affection for the hangers-on as well as the thrivers." —Bob Hicok
  • “Kristen Tracy writes with a sense of sustained invention that, poem by poem, gathers into a vivid, figurative fabric.”—Stuart Dybek
  • “What animal grace in these poems of the human stumble and dance on the road to becoming human. . . . This first collection of poetry by Kristen Tracy is a keeper.”—Joy Harjo

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