Half-Hazard by Kristen Tracy


Half-Hazard by Kristen Tracy


Paperback | 72 pp.

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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